Communication: A trait to improve relations
Almost everything revolves around it
According to Dalton Mcfarland, who has authored 20+ management-related books, “Communication may broadly be defined as a process of meaningful interaction among human beings. Especially, it is the process by which meanings are perceived and understandings are reached among human beings”. It brings people close to each other.
Often, we ignore the importance of communication and do not work towards improving it. I grew up in a family where members avoided uncomfortable conversations and did not share their thoughts openly. We did this out of a sense of respect for the relationship and to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings. Hence, I dealt with confrontation in my own way. When I felt the truth would create chaos between me and the concerned individual, I would hide it to avoid any uncomfortable conversations. The thought of the concerned person finding it out from somewhere else used to give me headaches. My constant fear of uncomfortable conversation caused me to avoid the real talk in almost all relationships. Gradually I realized the importance of communication, so I have embarked upon the journey of improving it. While working towards it, I read a few articles and a really insightful book. Hence I am sharing my findings and takeaways in this article.
Factors that affect the communication
Anger is one form of emotion where we speak things that we do not mean. When we are angry, we lose the ability to think clearly. In many instances, I have regretted a conversation that occurred when I was emotionally charged. This usually happens after an unplanned conversation that takes place on the spur of the moment. After an unplanned difficult conversation either we feel a surge of emotion — regret or shame if things didn’t go too well or potentially a boost to self-esteem and confidence if they did.
Change is another factor that often makes conversations difficult. Different people handle change in different ways, some respond very positively to a change in circumstances whereas others may only be able to see problems and difficulties at first.
Ladder of inference
Failure to communicate our thoughts clearly leads to the ladder of inference, which is a way to describe how you move from a piece of information (such as a comment made to you or something you observe) to a conclusion. A lot of the time, we are not even aware of the beliefs and assumptions underlying the data selection and the inferences that we draw. When we interpret wrong meanings out of miscommunication, it leads to several unnecessary fights.
My key takeaways
- The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly, and as intended, is a vital life skill and something that should not be overlooked. It’s never too late to work on our communication skills and by doing so, we may well find that we can improve our quality of life.
- No one can read our minds. It is possible that at times our loved ones can predict correctly. However, when it comes to setting expectations, it is crucial that we convey them clearly. Failure to communicate has been blamed for the breakdown of a number of partnerships and relationships.
- We, women, like to be heard, but men are wired to offer solutions. Therefore, if we want to share something without seeking input from men, we should mention that clearly before we start the discussion.
- These days people are busy exploring the world of social media, thus reducing in-person communication to a base minimum level. We need to keep in mind that nothing can beat in-person communication. It gives you a way to connect emotionally with an individual.
- Communication becomes easier when we are calm. Others are more likely to remain calm if you do. one needs to be focused on what he wants to say without deviating or getting distracted from the subject of communication.
- The communication may be written or oral, one should choose what works best for them. The purpose is to communicate the thoughts clearly.
- Once you are sure that something needs to be communicated then do so in an assertive way. Do not find yourself backing down or changing your mind mid-conversation, unless of course there is very good reason to do so.
- Several times I have failed to put myself in a person’s shoes before communicating my feelings to them. When a similar situation happens to me I feel terrible. Hence I believe that we need to be cognizant of the other person’s feelings before initiating a conversation.
- When we are stressed we tend to listen poorly. Therefore we need to try to relax and listen carefully to the views, opinions, and feelings of the other person/people. I am still working on this quality. I get very excited to reciprocate and interrupt the other person. So this one is still a work in progress for me.
- Jabber talks are not synonymous with good communication. One should Speak only when necessary to maintain the decorum.
I have tried to implement a few of the takeaways in my life and I have realized the peace they have brought to my mind. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments if you too believe that communication is a vital life skill to master!