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Are you communicating effectively?

Friday, 10 June 2011 22:53

Written by Loren Goldenberg-Kosbab

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Do you ever feel some times that when you are talking to someone you feel a barrier come up? It could lie with you, something has been triggered within you and in order to protect yourself up it comes, or it could be with the other person.

It’s not always obvious, as creatures that can communicate in many ways; it can lead to conclusions and miscommunication especially if technology is involved.

Non-verbalised and Physical Communication.

The body language will become uncomfortable, crossed arms, contemptuous gestures will be made or seemingly light-hearted retorts. Issues will be avoided or diverted, it either will never arise in a conversation or if it does by one party and the other is present they will either non_communicationdivert the conversation.

Maybe it’s more obvious with physical actions, a hand in your face, walking off, diversionary tactics or no communication what so ever!  What is that all about? Well quite simply there is a communication problem. Whether it resides with you or the other person, it’s there. If it happens frequently, it’s likely you.

Women often experience it more as they are creatures innately born with the ability and desire to communicate - not necessarily wholesome or in a confident manner but with our changing world, there’s also confusion too on how to approach someone (often partners) and communicate effectively without negative and emotional responses or letting it “temporarily” slide, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

How do we deal with situations like that?

I don’t have the definite answer as such but I do have some suggestions that may help based on my own communicating problems over the years and I am still learning. I have found to learn to communicate effectively you must base them on your values and how you would feel. It’s kind of like putting yourself in their shoes and seeing yourself talk to you.

Like most I don’t like confrontation but some times it’s unavoidable, but is often the basis for non-communication at all - a fear of retaliation (pain) or loss (more pain). We don’t like pain us humans and so we conjure up manyrelationship break ups different scenarios in our head on how the situations will go, often letting them go in order to avoid fallings out - until the next time that is. In actual fact we are projecting our fears into the future based on past experience of non-effective communication.

Each case is different and so we should in theory treat them individually and we should communicate in the present and deal with them as best as possible now. Focusing on any past issues, as a basis is not a good place to start communication, it takes courage and accountability whether you initialised the communication or you are the recipient.

When I come across a problem in my communication, I try to hold on to my values as much as possible, those being integrity, honesty and true to myself. It’s very easy to engage in communication of what is bothering you, only to come out feeling that you didn’t communicate it at all or worse being drawn into an emotional turmoil that has nothing what so ever to do with you.

So my advice is:

Don’t sit on it, deal with it

If something is bothering you, don’t dwell on it for more than a week, it’s best dealt with as soon as it happens. Left any longer it will no doubt be left to slide (and build up to volcanic proportions when something else arises).  If you can’t find the courage to do it in person, and some may disagree with this, write to them.  It’s communication at the end of the day and as long as you stay with the principles set further on, you will at least be further on and diffusing a possible relationship end.

The other side of the coin is of course is don’t react immediately without thinking, if you are the one being addressed, look at the situation, look at yourself, and have the courage to take accountability and openly expose your vulnerabilities! Your more likely to be respected.

Access the situation

You can get an idea of how things will turn out when the person you are trying to communicate with often blame others and does not take accountability for their actions, in which case you have to devise a communication plan that will effectively convey what you want to say without them drawing you in to unnecessary slanging matches.  Don’t let it put you off though just because you expect a reaction, expectations generally draw the reaction to you, confirming fears. Rather believe you can pass on what you need to with ease and love and resolving issues simply.

Approach with Sensitivity but clear intent

Find a way to convey your feelings in a non-attacking manner. I.e. “I am finding it hard to deal with this and that and the reason why”, rather than – “You have done this and that and…” Be straight, clear and don’t play the beat around the bush game with insinuations.

Dealing with Reactions

Some people instantly retaliate no matter how you say it. You may not have expected it but you will soon enough. That is their guilt or the shock and embarrassment of their behaviour being highlighted, it’s not your problem; it’s theirs in which case...Relationship reactions

Listen to what they say, their response, if they genuinely didn’t realise (and you may not have expected that either) that they were doing something against your values, (remember it’s coming from your prospective, how you see things, how you are feeling) they probably will apologise and make every effort to not do it again.  Leave it at that, they have realised and are sorry.

If they want to go away and think about it then let them, respect their wishes, don’t badger them for an apology or to recognise instantly what you are trying to communicate as that is more likely to inflame them. This also applies if you have communicated something and someone retorts, if you want your space to think on what they have said, tell them so. You are entitled to back off and rethink a line of communication that will hopefully bring back a positive line of dialogue.

Things to consider if someone retorts and counter attacks

Either you didn’t say it in a way that was clear, kind and loving way (which case you need to clarify this but be brief). Remember you communicate with someone because you love them and you love yourself too for standing up and hopefully preventing a continuation of certain behaviour.  Which they may or may not recognise they are doing.

If they are harbouring something against you, you need to establish if you can, what that is and go from there, which often can be the source of their justification of the way they are behaving.

If negative communication creeps in and that doesn’t have to be with words, our whole body communicates our true feelings with gestures and manoeuvres. For example if someone is crossed arms, and not looking at you then they are closing off to you, they don’t want to hear and they are protecting themselves. If they won’t look at you they are hiding their embarrassment or guilt.  If you see them roll their eyes to heaven it’s contempt for what you are saying or even you.

As long as you have said what you needed, which was the issue at hand, anything further is semantics. Leave it at that, walk away, end the communication with love and good will, even if you feel you want to retort back, don’t, it’s not effective communication.

A person who cannot grasp what you are saying or is unwilling to look at themselves or their behaviour will try to drawn you in again and again with counter grievances and convince you that you were the wrong party. They want you to feel their pain, well you can’t, it’s theirs to deal with and by leaving them to think will give them the opportunity to grow (hopefully).relationship make up

Effectively communicated

You have managed to establish a calm talking ground, discussing without attack and resolving issue. Fantastic…the next one might not be so easy…watch out for similarities and deal with accordingly.

Danger Point

If however, something should come up again, later on don’t go back to that issue that seemed resolved and use it in order to fuel your argument.  Just deal with the issue at hand and how you are being affected by it.

When we enter a relationship of an emotional kind, we connect with those people often because we have common interests and reflect each other, good traits and bad, loving them or ignoring them but after a while they can be irksome. The thing that most people forget in relationships is that we grow, we see things differently a few years down the line, our interests change, values change and what was important then might not be now. We also assume that our relationships will automatically keep up with those changes but they don’t unless you communicate them on a regular basis.

If you find it hard to communicate to someone you love, find a kindly non-judgemental ear to help you work through the best way to effectively communicating what you want to, and do not fear what the outcome will be because love is a very strong bond - you maybe surprised it wasn’t as hard as you thought it was going to be.

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Loren Goldenberg-Kosbab is a creator, communicator and fellow adventurer on this journey called life.  Alternative Health practitioner and Holistic Web designer by profession she owns and runs Spirit Mind Body UK website. Conceived and built at a cross roads in her life with the desire to connect with like minded souls; learn from them and pass knowledge on from her life experiences. At another cross roads now, Loren has embarked on a new adventure, her realised life purpose…writing.

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