How we communicate has a fundamental impact on our relationships – be it personal or professional. To ensure that we are communicating effectively, we need to reflect on our communication style and think about how our words, reactions and actions impact our conversations. We must do this because if we don’t, we may find ourselves in situations where we are misunderstood, which can result in conflict or not having our needs and desires met.
To understand how you communicate and how your communication style can be improved, grab a pen and paper and complete the below exercise:
Think about an awkward conversation or situation you have found yourself in and write down the details of the conversation and exactly what the other person(s) said. Leave out conjecture and your interpretation of what was said and instead focus on writing down the precise words of the other person.
Once you have done this, write down exactly what you said. Again, avoid conjecture.
Now answer the following questions:
How was your response? Negative or Positive? Did your response make the situation better or worse?
Notice these questions are focussed on you, not the other person. This is because you cannot control how another person communicates, but you can control how you communicate. And as such, you want to communicate effectively.
Now, review the below 7 C’s of communication and ask yourself:
How could I have been more effective in my communication? Write down what a more effective response could have been.
If you practice this simple exercise, your communication style will improve, which will lead to effective communication that mitigates conflict and ensures that you effectively communicate your wishes.
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