Do arguments with your partner, family, or friends quickly get out of hand?
Do you often feel misunderstood and unheard in conversations?
Would you like to learn ways to communicate more effectively and resolve conflict calmly and respectfully?
If so, this article is for you.
In the next few minutes, you will learn three secrets to successful communication and how to apply these secrets to strengthen your relationship with everyone around you.
Secret 1: Be An Active Listener
The first secret to successful communication is to be an active listener.
Active listening means that when someone speaks to you, your focus is entirely on what the person is saying. You pay attention to the words they use, their body language, and the feelings behind the words the other person is saying.
While it sounds simple to be an active listener, in my experience, very few people are able to do it well. Unfortunately, this mainly applies to men, who are often trained to give advice or solve problems when listening to someone. In many cases, this leads to the person talking not feeling heard or understood, which can easily lead to conflict, especially in a relationship.
Instead of giving advice or attempting to solve problems, active listening requires the listener to be curious and open-minded and suspend any judgment or opinions they may have. Again, this is challenging for many people.
However, once you start to practice active listening, it will become easier. Suspending any judgments or opinions you have allows the speaker to open up and express what is going on for them on a deeper level.
This will help you understand the person you are talking to much better, and it will also make them feel heard and understood.
While there are a range of skills involved in becoming a better listener, in my opinion the most critical skill is to ask the person you are listening to questions. Asking questions allows you to understand the person better and, at the same time, shows them that you are interested in their perspective.
Some simple questions to ask include"
- "What do you think about this?"
- "How did you come to that conclusion?"
- "What is your opinion about this?", or
- "How do you feel about that?".
The key to asking questions is to be genuinely curious about the other person's opinion and to ensure that any questions you ask come from a place of kindness and understanding.
Secret 2: Speak Clearly And Non-Aggressively
The second secret to successful communication is to speak clearly and non-aggressively.
When speaking to someone, it's important to ensure that you are clear and concise about what you want to say.
This means being mindful of the words you use, how loud your voice is, what body language you use, and what tone of voice you use.
Avoiding aggressive communication means avoiding any behavior or words that could be interpreted as threatening, humiliating or demeaning. For example, avoid raising your voice, using insulting language, or making assumptions about the other person's thoughts or feelings.
A simple model for speaking clearly and non-aggressively is called the DESC model.
The DESC model was developed in the 1970's by communication experts Sharon and Gordon Bower.
The DESC model consists of four steps. These are:
- Step 1: D-Describe the situation you want to talk about
- Step 2: E-Explain your feelings about this situation.
- Step 3: S-Suggest what you would happen in this situation, and
- Step 4: C-Give the positive consequences of your suggested solution
The DESC model is a valuable tool to help you speak clearly and non-aggressively.
It ensures that you are clear and concise about what you want to say while avoiding any behavior or words that could be seen as aggressive or threatening.
Secret 3: Practice Negotiation Skills
The third and final secret to successful communication is to negotiate well.
Negotiation skills are important because it allows both people to get what they want. This is particularly important in relationships, especially when you and your partner have different needs and wants.
Healthy negotiation requires good listening skills, clear and non-aggressive communication, and an openness to compromise.
It also requires you to be creative and think of solutions that work for both people.
A simple way to practice good negotiation with your partner is to listen to your partners' perspective on an issue without making any judgments or assumptions. Listen without interruption and with an open mind.
Once your partner has finished explaining their perspective, explain yours. Be clear and concise about what you think and feel. An excellent way to do this is using the DESC model you have just learned about.
Once you have explained your perspectives on the issue, work together to brainstorm solutions that work for both of you. This means that you and your partner try to come up with as many solutions as possible to the problem.
Once you have come up with this list of possible solutions, work together to choose the best one.
This may require compromise from you both, but if you can come up with a solution that works for both of you, it is worth the effort.
By practising these three secrets of successful communication - asking questions, speaking clearly and non-aggressively, and negotiating well - you will create calmer and more respectful relationships.
OK. There you have it. Three secrets for successful communication. These are:
- Secret 1: Be An Active Listener
- Secret 2: Speak Clearly And Non-Aggressively
- Secret 3: Practice Negotiation Skills
Finally, how can you get help if you are experiencing anger issues?
Fortunately, I have a simple, short and FREE training on this very topic.
To access this FREE training, click here.
This training will teach you exactly how to control your anger, master your emotions and create a calmer, happier and more respectful relationship, often in 21 days (or less), and without having to attend humiliating anger management programs or exhausting therapy sessions that often just do not work.
Remember: You can't control other people, but you can control yourself.