For the Communicationally-Challenged



All too often the art of communication, or lack of art, gets us into trouble.  With a little grace and intentionality in the way we listen and speak, the majority of the problems we face would be simplified and more manageable.  

6 Quick tips on how to communicate more effectively:

1. Approach conversations with the intent of listening to learn. Often, we go into a conversation chomping at the bit to get our opinions out into the universe.  If we reset our focus to listening, chances are high that our initial plan will change and become simpler than we thought. 

2. Listen and speak with grace and humility.  Always keep in mind that other people's struggles are no different than your own, in that we all have them. While the details of the struggle are not the same, the emotion behind it might be. You probably have more in common than you think.

3. Always begin hard conversations with a positive.  Make your positive statement, or observation authentic.  People can read BS from a mile away.

4. When listening, don't jump to a response right away. That communicates that you've just been waiting to say your piece.  Listen, take 3 seconds, and then speak.

5. Make eye contact, smile and lean in. When my husband and I first started dating, I pretty much decided to marry him because of his skills in this area. (Can I get an Amen, girls? Who doesn't love feeling like the only girl in the room?) He also had great teeth; I married him for that, too.  Also, for the love of all things good, put your phone down and turn it on silent. People will know you are listening and genuinely interested. 

6. If you don't have time to talk now, be honest.  Say something like: "This is really important to me, but if we talk now I won't be able to give you my full attention, and you deserve that.  Can we plan on talking today at 4:00?" This willprevent distractions and unnecessary frustration for you both.  Unless of course, this is your boss, or is the perfect time.