Let’s face it. We all want to be heard in our relationships, be they personal, with our spouses or partners, our children, or business associates. But what’s the best way to get our point across? Not by yelling, that’s for sure. As soon as voices get raised, ears get shut. We’ve all been at both ends of that game, and it doesn’t work. So what does?
Communication is the basis of all successes and all evils, so you have to know how to deliver your message. If you want your point to be well taken, your voice heard, and your objectives reached, no matter who you’re talking with, pitching to, or negotiating with, if you follow these 5 simple rules of engagement, you’ll be heard – loud and clear.
5 COMMUNICATION TIPS TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE HEARD
Stay Calm and Positive
Communicate yourself happy. Use your words to help you, not sabotage you. If you start with anger and negativity, no one will listen. If you’ve got your back up, you need to address it – before you communicate. Take a timeout and let the sediment settle so you can see clearly. Often, when we wait out defensiveness, our perceptions change, and perspective returns. When we’re calm, we perceive better and achieve better results. Calm tells the other person you want to address the issue as a win-win proposition. Lead by example.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Language is everything. Shoot first, ask questions later didn’t work at the ole’ corral, and it never does – anywhere. Before you speak, consider your words. Never, ever, begin a conversation with words that attack. Accusatory sentences that begin with You, Why, and What, may be interpreted as ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’. Make sure instead, that you open the conversation without laying blame. Lead in with I-phrases that take ownership of your feelings, such as, ‘I noticed that…, I appreciate it when you X, and when X happens, it…, I know it was with good intentions that…, , or, I love that you’….When you begin your sentences with feelings about the other person first, you’re not being accusing, and the other person is more likely to welcome being invited into the conversations, and hear what you’re saying. Lead by example.
Watch Your Tone
Your tone sets the stage. The tone you take can make or break a conversation regardless of the words you use. Even the nicest of intentions can sound hurtful or accusatory if you choose the wrong tone. How do you keep your tone on track? Calm and positive, yes, but don’t forget kind and firm. Pretend you’re talking to a stranger. Doing so will ensure your tone stays respectful. You can talk all you want, but if your tone is sending a different message, nothing you say will help you. Lead by example.
Consider Your Body Language
What is your body saying about your intent? If you want to be heard, not only do you have to watch what you say, but how your body is saying it. Eye-to-eye contact is key. Holding your phone, a pen, a food item? Put it down. If you want respect and validation, you also have to give it. You won’t be taken seriously if you’re trying to convey a message while multitasking. Get on-level too. In any conversation, you want democracy, not dictatorship.
That means, if the other person is standing, you stand. If they’re sitting, you sit. Your goal is not only to create rapport and buy-in so they listen, but also to show you are equals in the conversation. With your children, get down to their level, your head at their head. You don’t want to be over-bearing, a bully, or be a parent who imparts a dictatorship style of parenting. Fill their power buckets. Empower your children. That is, after all, your job. Lead by example.
Giving thanks is an important step that many people forget. Let the other person know you appreciate them for not only taking the time to listen, but for hearing you and helping to communicate to effectively. Gratitude sets up a positive platform not just for the relationship and your expectations, but also for the next time you need to air something. All relationships hit snags and require ongoing communication.
Giving to give is showing thanks. Showing gratitude and offering posit reinforcement is showing thanks, and all these positive actions convey thankfulness. It’s important because when you feel thankful, you allow the other person to feel thankful too, and that’s good insurance for the next time you need to have a conversation or chat with your child, or anyone. Make them feel empowered without belittling or invalidating them, and it’s win-win. Lead by example.
Final thoughts….Listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing someone speaking is not the same as listening to what they’re saying. Listen. Be an active participant, and give what you want to get back. Lead by example. If you need more help, I’m here.
By Lauren Millman