Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Effective Communication

Set a goal. Know what you want the outcome to be.
Choose the best language. Know your audience preferences.
Get permission. Ask “Is this a good time to share or what might be a better time?
Clarify how much time you have. And stay within those boundaries.
Get ready. Center yourself. Be grounded in what you have to share. Balance what you are sending and what is being received.
Send your message in a language and tone that will most easily and accurately be received.
If information, be direct, concise and specific.
If a problem, share your observation, your feeling and your desire. “I notice..I feel....I want...I am willing...
Whenever possible, ask what the receiver has heard and invite their questions.
Listen attentively to what is asked or said to you. Make notes and respond specifically without rambling, defense or projection.
Ask if the receiver has anything else to share with you. Give them as much and more focus as you would want for yourself.
Do not interrupt.
Do not contradict.
Do not defend yourself.
Do not aim to be right.
Do not set a goal of winning or getting your way.
If the receiver appears angered, hurt or defensive, it is time to listen.
Take nothing personally.
Look for the underlying goal or desire.
Seek to find where there is agreement.
For example: We both want to have peace.
We both are seeking a positive outcome.
We both need respect.
We both want to be heard.
Seek to understand before being understood. Ask questions.
Get acquainted with the other’s communication style, skill level, intention, need to be right, personality needs.
Fighting yields more fighting, so seek a path of peace and unity.
When there is a values difference, know the best ways to approach the other.
Model the behavior or values you hold.
State your value’s position strongly and clearly one time only. No nagging or repeating.
Use fair consultation skills (gathering all the information and holding a neutral position when sharing.)
Apply the Serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Remember, if your desired outcome is to maintain a healthy relationship and open communication,
do not endanger what you value most by your need to be right and get your own way.

There is much more, but these simple, direct and effectve tools are a beginning for your practice.

Loving you,
Betty Lue