Communication is a vital part of our lives: a typical day involves many interactions between ourselves, our work colleagues and clients, our children, our friends, our ex's, future relationships, etc. This interaction takes place where we live, work, relax, socialize and wherever we perform routine tasks.
Communication skills are critical for building healthy relationships, especially when one realizes that one of the most common causes of relational breakdown is a lack of communication. Just as communication can be the most important part of a relationship; arguments can be the most destructive aspect - the closer we are to someone, the more easily we can bruise or be bruised. There is very little truth in the saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me." It's not what we say, but rather how we say it, that most often hurts another person.
Do you identify with any of these statements?
"He never listens to me when I talk!"
"She talks and talks, but never actually says anything!"
"It's like talking to a brick wall"
"I can't get through to you"
"We can't talk about anything important without getting into a fight"
"She's too emotional - she's either crying or shouting or complaining. It's easier to avoid her"
"He always gets defensive when I try to talk about issues"
Communication is a complex process; of which speaking only makes up for 10-20%. The other 80-90% is made up by facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc.
Communication is the art/ science of transferring a thought/ idea/ information from the mind of one complex human being to the mind of one or more complex human being(s). For communication to be effective, it must be a two-way process.
Listening and Feedback
Did I say what I meant to say? - Invite feedback to clarify communication.
Someone who's not listening lets their mind drift and is already preparing the next argument or opposing thought; inaccurate feedback or limited eye contact.
Listening is an active, not a passive process. When two people argue, they only hear "what they want to hear", not what's actually said. This equates to the accusation of "not listening". Most couples start arguing and within 5 minutes are arguing about the way they are arguing.
Don't argue when you're angry - you will not be able to listen objectively. Give yourself time to cool down and then broach the subject when you are in a more reasonable frame of mind.
It's important to give feedback - checking and confirming. Did I understand you correctly? Is this what you mean? I heard you say this: am I right? Feedback can be verbal / non-verbal e.g. a nod, smile, silence or a cold shoulder. No feedback is in itself a form of feedback.
If the words and actions contradict each other, it is better to believe the actions!
Conflict resolution can either be Constructive or Destructive.Destructive Style - hinders or inhibits the conflict resolution process:
When trying to resolve conflicts, try to clarify your goals, as you will probably share many of the same goals despite of your differences. Avoid bargaining, as this may lead to each party taking a rigid position which in turn can flare tempers.
When resolving conflicts, remember that their causes may run deep. Sweeping issues under the carpet isn't going to work in the long term, as old baggage will be brought up each time an argument starts. Try to fully resolve each issue as it comes along. You may find the following method useful:
Troubleshooting For Problems in Communication
Control or Power Issues: Effective communication cannot take place if one person has "control" over the other or where there is not mutual respect and equality of relationship. To stay in control leads to relational isolation as the underdog reacts in anger at being manipulated or belittled.
Triangulation: Do not bring in a third party to avoid direct confrontation. If you have a problem with someone, go directly to that person. Don't dump your accusations on mutual friends or your children in the hope of winning support to balance the scales in your favour - it leads to more substantial and long-lasting damage, especially when a child is used as a weapon between parents.
19 Steps to Effective Communication
As you look ahead to new relationships, you need to be able to break old and faulty communication patterns to allow for healthier interaction. The use of praise and positive reinforcement will reconstruct wounded and broken self-images and will build self-esteem, particularly in children. By becoming an effective communicator, you will also grow and become a better person which will positively enhance all your relationships.
Michael Brady is web entrepreneur and is currently running a very popular dating site (Dating In Ireland). He wishes to coach people on some skills that will make them more prepared for an online dating experience.The author invites you to visit: www.datinginireland.singlescrowd.com