We all want to be better communicators. However, when you have been accustomed to communicating in a specific way, it can seem hard to change that pattern.
Changing your communication style is possible, though, if you can learn to ask yourself three simple questions. These questions will create greater awareness of how you are communicating and what you need in order to achieve successful communication.
Question #1: “What is the goal of this conversation? Am I seeking to agree or understand?”
Talking and communicating are not the same thing. Talking isn’t communication unless it has a goal. For most of us, our goal in communication is agreement. However, when agreement is the goal, you are in essence communicating there can only be one person who is right in a conversation. This goal contributes to disconnection. If you want to move toward connection, then the goal of communication cannot be agreement, because then one person has to disappear when there is disagreement. In order to prioritize connection, the goal of communication must be to understand: “I want to understand your perspective and the truth of what is happening inside of you.” Pursuing the goal of understanding will help you progress through increasingly deeper levels of honesty in order to build true intimacy and trust in a relationship.
Question #2: “What do I need, and am I communicating what I need?”
The only way you can build a heart-to-heart connection with someone is to communicate on a heart level about your feelings and needs. This is the level where you express vulnerability and build trust. In expressing your needs, you must also be open to hearing the needs of the other person. Understanding one another’s needs is the Holy Grail of communication. If you can find out what the other person needs in a conversation and find out how to satisfy that need, then it changes everything!
Question #3: “Am I communicating like a powerful person, or a powerless person?”
Powerless people are afraid of the truth. This leads them to communicate in one of three styles: passive communication, aggressive communication, or passive-aggressive communication.
1. Passive communicators attempt to convince the world that everyone else is more important than they are. Their core belief is: “You matter; I don’t.”
2. Aggressive communicators are the “T-Rex” communicators. Their core belief is: “I matter, you don’t!”
3.Passive-aggressive communicators are the most devious of the fear-based communication styles. It is the worst of being passive and the worst of being aggressive. Their core belief is: “You matter…no, not really.”
Powerful people are not afraid of the truth. They love the truth, and as a result, they use an assertive communication style. The core belief of an assertive communicator is: “You matter, and so do I.” Assertive communicators refuse to have relationships or conversations where both people do not have a high equal value. They are not afraid to show the other person what is happening inside them. The core values of honor and mutual respect are what assertive communicators protect as they interact.
Keep these steps in mind the next time you have a disagreement. You can have successful communication!
P.S. If you haven’t checked out the relationship course at the Life Academy, it’s a great resource in helping you grow in your communication and connection, check it out today!