I’d like to share some thoughts this week on good communication, not only in a marriage relationship, but in work as well. A little over a year ago I shared how Communicating With My Wife Requires an Air Traffic Control Radar, sharing similarities I had observed between the two. A couple weeks later I shared further thoughts in Communicating With My Wife Requires an Air Traffic Control Radar, Part 2 (and the cat, chicken, egg, and pig). Here are six keys to good communication.
- Make good use of body language. It is easy to negate our words or send contradictory messages if our body language does not match our words. We need to demonstrate with our body language that we are good listeners, and are attentive to the message the other party is trying to communicate to us.
- Have reasonable and realistic expectations. We need to be reasonable in what we expect from the other person, as well as acknowledge to ourselves that we cannot fix or change another person. But we must not lower our expectations so low that there is no incentive on our part to communicate what is bothering us or impeding the relationship.
- We should be positive and encourage the other person as much as possible. A little encouragement goes so far in improving communication that it is somewhat surprising more emphasis is not placed on it in every day communication. There are times when negative information needs to be shared, but there is always a way to put a more positive spin on the transfer of that information. I have shared characteristics of a Great Boss, but one I did not mention is this ability to be positive and encouraging. It really makes a difference.
- We should attempt to give all the information. It is easy to share a part of our thoughts and make the assumption that the other person will make the same conclusion, or read between the lines to interpret the information we haven’t shared directly. But we must share enough of our thoughts that the communication to the other person is complete.
- We should ask questions and get all the information. We must ask enough probing questions to encourage the transfer to us of the information we need. And we should investigate when needed to be sure we have an accurate picture of the situation.
- We should not spring things on the other person. We should share with the other person out thoughts as soon as possible. That applies to both positive and negative feedback – we should not save it up and then spring it on the other person all at once. It also applies to plans and general activities – we should share and discuss our plans before launching them.
How about you? Could you think of ways to apply any of these six principles in your communication with your spouse? At work?
thanks for the image to http://dydara.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/how-to-have-good-communication-skills/