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My definition of communication is the transfer of information and emotion: every time, every conversation, every person, and every topic. If we want strong relationships, we must learn to allow both information and emotion to transfer every time.
Everyone has a specific transfer rate. Some people are quick and some are not. Some need a lot of information and some don’t. Even if we think we have the answer or the information the other party needs or wants, we still need to allow them to deliver the emotion to us.
How do we demonstrate our desire to build relationships through effective communication? Here are three important skills to develop.
Listen to understand before trying to be understood.
Acknowledge the other person’s position through feedback.
Don’t try to "top" during a conversation.
The ability to listen with the attitude of understanding before being understood is rarely found. Most of us want to be understood first, and then perhaps we might listen to other people’s perspectives—many times only to formulate a response designed to persuade them to change their mind.
My mother often said to me: "It is amazing you never have time to do things right the first time, but you have time to do them twice." When we have the courage to use feedback to clarify and confirm what we have heard, we eliminate mistakes and misunderstandings and get it right the first time.
How many times have you shared a story with someone only to have them begin a response with: "Well, let me tell you what happened to me!" and then proceed to tell you a story that "tops" yours. If this sounds like you, stop it unless the other party asks you if you have a similar story to share.
Charlie Fewell & Associates
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