Effective Communication For A Meaningful Life!

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My wife Sue was showing me yesterday her recent piece of jewellery creation, and she went on describing the piece and its intricate details. She explained how she was able to turn the thin tubing inside out to create an elegant necklace holding a lovely pendant. To cut a long story short, Sue figured out the problem that faces many designers and laid out the solution by designing an instrument that helped her achieve her objective. Sue has been a jewellery and leather fashion designer for more than 20 years, and she never ceases to amaze me with her opulent and startling creations.

Sometimes when she describes her work with elaborate details to me, she uses artistic fashion terms Im not familiar with. However, having studied art and architecture I can always relate to her work and can visualize the piece as a finished product even from the drawing board.

Yet, to be honest, while her work is always exciting and interests me I find it hard sometimes to stay focused, besides, some parts of the details that excite her are not that interesting to me. This is not surprising since Im the hunter by nature, being a man, and she is the gatherer! For example, what grab my total attention are situations and results that involve people rather than physical objects. Peoples success stories capture and hold my attention much more. So I have to work hard at staying focused on what shes describing and really try to get what shes trying to tell me about the process.

In some longer than usual conversations, Ive even allowed my mind to wander. Then Im in real trouble when she poses a question like, What do you think? Since I missed some of what she was saying, I have to ask her to repeat it or admit that I didnt hear everything she said.

Either way, Ive communicated to her that her message wasnt that important to me and if I did it very often, our relationship would suffer.

In every relationship whether its with our spouse, child, boss, co-worker, customer, friend or other family member theres an array of communication skills required if our goal is to connect with the other person at a meaningful level.

When we listen, we have to give our focused, undivided attention to the speaker. We must keep our eyes locked on them and not get distracted by other people who may walk byor other thoughts that enter our head. Thus we respond in a way that demonstrates that we truly hear and understand what theyre trying to say.

And when we speak, our words need to affirm and uplift whenever possible. We may have the best of intentions when we criticize, give advice or offer solutions. But these approaches are typically not welcomed by the other person.

The problem is that we all have established habits when it comes to communicating with others. And as Ive learned over the years, its easy to fall back on old habits that get in the way of effective communication.

In the words of Sydney Harris The two words information and communication are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. Some of us think that communication is giving out information!
No matter who youre trying to communicate with, you need to know why its so hard to break your existing habits and form new ones. When you understand that and youre willing to do the work to make the change the payoff is a stronger and more positive relationship with each person you connect with.
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