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Posts Tagged ‘communication tips

Sometimes we have strong feelings about something – but we’re in a situation where it’s tricky to share. Perhaps it’s at work, or with family, and you don’t want to rock the boat or are worried about keeping your job. Unfortunately, this means that you can end up taking care of other people at the expense of yourself. Here’s a guide of what to do:

  1. Speak from your own perspective. You don’t know universal truths. If with a boss or colleagues, you can use phrases such as, “In the past months I’ve noticed…” or “This is a situation where we could improve some things, if it’s okay to give some input?” And with family or friends, “I feel” statements – rather than “You did this…” are essential.
  2. Be a little vulnerable. It helps to let others see our humanity and our soft side – especially if we say something that’s hard to hear.
  3. Frame it in terms of desiring to see something change for the positive. Always seek a solution, rather than being stuck in the problem. Express your desire for change.
  4. Ask for what you want. If you need something in particular, don’t expect the other person to somehow know.

This is truly just a start – but an invaluable one. If any of the above are steps you’ve skipped, try to add ’em in to your process.

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We have so many wonderful modes of communication these days. Let me rephrase the first part: we have so many wonderful means of avoiding direct confrontation. Need to make plans or perhaps superficial talk? Texting or instant messaging is dandy.┬áBut for something that’s sticky, in person is the best way to talk about it.

Why? Because of nonverbal communication – which makes up fifty to eighty percent of communication. Tone of voice, body language, etc., simply cannot be replaced by a smiley face emoticon. Which means that when you are not in person, growing in succession from video (Skype) to phone to email to IMing and texting – you have an increasingly larger chance of being misunderstood.

Yes, it’s oh-so-easy to avoid direct hurt feelings by doing so, but also leads to drawn-out conflict. So. Do it in person, and make sure there’s enough time to really talk.

In part 3: Guidelines for what – and what not to say.

You’re at work or with a loved one, and something rubs you the wrong way. Maybe it’s a pattern that’s been going on for a while, or you suddenly get triggered. It’s easy to think that someone else did something wrong – but they didn’t. Your feelings are yours – which means you need to take responsibility for them. Don’t expect someone else to know what’s going on if you don’t tell them.

So, when should you express it? Most of the time, right away. If you let things fester, they’ll most likely know something’s up, and it just makes things worse. The one exception? If the other person is simply not in a good space to hear, or if you can’t have their full attention, it’s best to wait – but look for an opportunity that works as soon as possible.

In part 2: Where to speak up. Hint: don’t do it via text.


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