#111 - It's all about communication!
The reality is, unless we communicate well, we cannot have great relationships. This applies to both personal and business relationships.
One of the keys to great communication is being honest and vulnerable. You have to be willing to say; “I don’t know the answer.” “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.” “I was selfish/wrong and neglected your needs.” How many of us can swallow hard and see these words? I guarantee, not many. We all want to be right. We never want to make a mistake…or at least never admit that we did.
Honesty is a two way street with ourselves. We can only control our honestly and no one else’s. Not only do we have to be honest with others, it is just as important that we are honest with ourselves. In fact, unless we are honest with ourselves first, it will be next to impossible to be honest with anyone else. If we can’t admit to ourselves that we made a mistake, didn’t know the answer or neglected to fulfill a commitment, how are we going to admit that to someone else? What usually happens is that we make an excuse or blame the issue on someone else in order to save face.
The parasite of fear.
We all want to look good in the eyes of others. If we make a mistake we’re afraid that it will diminish other’s opinions of us. When this happens, we punish ourselves emotionally by thinking we are not good enough, smart enough, etc. We may even say these things out loud for others to hear! If you say it often enough and long enough, what you think and say will become the truth in your mind. And, nobody can punish us more harshly than we can punish ourselves!
The art of listening.
Stephen Covey said it best; “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply!” Make sure as you are listening to not be assumptive. Don’t assume you understand what someone is saying to you. Clarify by repeating as accurately as possible what they said and by asking questions not only until you are sure that you understand but that the speaker is sure you understand. Listening is an art. The best listeners will also usually be the best communicators because they make an effort to understand the conversation and to make the speaker feel understood.
You can’t force someone else to be a better communicator so that responsibility is yours. The more you learn to communicate openly, honestly and clearly, the stronger your relationships will become.
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