I spend an awful lot of time focused on communication. Since my divorce I pay a lot closer attention to my communication skills, it has become a passion for me. Whether it’s learning how to improve through being a Toastmaster, listening to my coaching client’s and their communication issues, reading books on communication or diligently working hard each day to improve my own, it seems to surface no matter where I turn.
So why is it so important? It’s so important because it seems we don’t do it very well. Email, though a speedy form of getting a message across, is often misconstrued, there is no emotion in the sentences and we cannot know for sure the tone in which it was intended. Words can be misunderstood, hence the creation of email etiquette courses and countless discussions to try and clear up misunderstandings. Texting is even worse, with fewer words and less effort put into doing it the opportunities to have your words misunderstood are endless. And what about talking face to face? Well if you have watched a Brene Brown TEDTalk recently or read John Gottman’s book “The Relationship Cure” or know of Marshall Rosenberg’s “Non Violent Communication”, to name only a few, you will see that even when we are presented with the opportunity to speak face to face we are fearful to say what we really want or need. We seem to have been taught that it shows weakness if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, if we say what’s bothering us or what’s wrong. So instead of actually being direct and honest about where we are at we speak using ambiguity, we skirt around the issue, we expect the other person to read between the lines, we yell, blame and accuse and we rarely get what we want.
What could be possible in our lives if we were better at communicating with people? How would our relationship with our children change if we said, “I worry when you come home late or don’t call.” rather than yelling, “and what time did you stroll in last night!!??” If you said to your sister, “It makes me uncomfortable when you speak to me in that manner” instead of “what’s your problem today, don’t take it out on me!!” Or if you were able to say to your partner, “I’m feeling lonely at the moment would you cuddle with me please. “ Rather than, “is it cold in here or is it just me?”
Take a look into one of the books or Brene’s videos that I mentioned above and let me know what you think after you’ve read them or watched them. I’d love to hear what you may learn about your habits when it comes to communication and what you may do differently to improve the relationships in your life. As Brene Brown suggests, I’m daring greatly in my life. Will you?