Steps To Effective Communication
As it is said: ‘It isn’t what you say, it is how you say it.’ That applies to whoever you are communicating with, whether it be a staff member, colleague, family, or friend. When you communicate well, it helps eliminate misunderstandings, resentments, anger, anxiety, discomfort, judgment, and stress. It creates flow, positivity, confidence, trust, openness, time management, and productivity.
What you will find is that a person will feel heard, valued, and acknowledged and that their opinion and what they have to contribute is important. Gold!
However, most of us don’t find this easy to do as this isn’t a skill we are taught in childhood. A lot of us were taught to be seen and not heard. Our young opinions didn’t count. We were told what to do, what we liked, and what we needed. There wasn’t much room for self-expression and being able to communicate what was important for us. Effective communication wasn’t at the top of the list of importance. Furthermore, obedience and not speaking out were.
Like with anything else, it takes time and practice to learn this new skill. As you know, it is difficult to shake an old habit. However, it is well worth your while to start now and release yourself from years of conditioning.
How do you communicate effectively?
Before you open up communication with someone, it is important to have cleared all the rubbish that could get in the way. Things like anger, resentment, jealousy, aggression, blame, hurt and feeling the victim. All you do is shut the other person down leading to further frustration and negative emotion. So the cycle goes on and on.
A great way is to get it all down on paper first. Write down every emotion and feeling that you have around the person or issue. Remember this is for your eye’s only. Many years ago I read The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron which unblocked me completely. Initially, I was so constipated about writing. I felt guilt and disloyalty. As she says: ‘Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.’
If you find you are blocked and don’t know where to start, just write the first thing, or even the first word, that comes into your head. Then keep writing that word. At first, it does feel silly. However, you will be amazed at what can morph from this. Keep writing until you feel you have freed yourself from the pain, hurt and anger you are feeling.
Deal with emotional discomfort
This is one of the most difficult things to do in our lives because it takes courage, not only to get started but to admit it in the first place. To be able to communicate effectively, writing down all your emotions is a great way to get you started. It is about staying with the discomfort. This is excellent preparation for when the time comes for you to state your truth, whether it be face to face or in writing. When you start to release these intense emotions, you will begin to get a sense of freedom and vitality. You will feel lighter and more confident.
What to do when you are ready to communicate
- Before you start come prepared by visualising the outcome you would ideally like.
- Be attentive, open and make steady eye contact if you are sitting opposite each other.
- Start with a positive comment about how you feel about the person with the ‘I’ message, i.e., I feel hurt or sad, etc.
- State facts only and what is happening for you without judgment. Once you bring emotion in, you have lost them, particularly if they are feeling attacked.
- State clearly how you feel and only how you feel.
- If you would like to see a change, state what that would be.
- Once you have finished, give the other person a chance to respond. Listen to what they have to say. Remain open and attentive, and reflect back what is being said. This creates trust and respect.
There will always be an element of fear and anxiety. However, you will grow in confidence once you practice and bring this into your life. Your life will change and most importantly, how you feel about yourself will change, too. Only you can do this. All I can do is to encourage you to get going.
Once you start, you will find that you feel more confident, joyful, loving, and happy with a renewed zest for your life. And the life you are leading is yours, and no one else’s because you are expressing yourself in your own way and allowing others to do so, too. That is true freedom – being you.
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Chantal works with women in a unique, whole person manner, to reconnect them to their original selves in a new way. The process is particularly effective for people who are at an impasse in their lives, who are ready for change but do not yet know how to create it for themselves. Female entrepreneurs are particularly attracted to Chantal’s work due to her expertise as a successful businesswoman and her ability to access insights through her unfolding work to cut to the core of an issue.
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