Have you ever walked away from a conversation feeling completely misunderstood? You go over the details again and again in your mind. You think, why didn’t they see my point? YOU are not a bad person and yet there are times things escalate quicker than you would like them.
People misunderstand you in talking points, giving presentations or simply in expressing yourself to others. Relationships, professional or personal, can then suffer.
It’s Not You! It’s Your Communication.
Quick communication fixes–
1) Conflict resolution–
Anger is fear. When anger rises, it usually covers the emotion of fear. Example: When you were a kid and you were told “you better not do that!” it may have been out of concern for your safety. Aka that emotion of fear was then translated into anger to prevent the outcome of that fear. This is true for personal relationships. Our fears, insecurities and protection of vulnerability translates into anger. How do we change our anger or address the anger of another? It is simple. Get to their fears. That is the root of their problem. What is it that you are not saying? Your fears. Getting to the root can be this easy
Change “I’m angry that…” to “I’m afraid that…” This release tension and helps resolve conflict by getting to the root much faster. When you verbalize vulnerability, people are much more likely to become empathic with you. You get your problem solved much easier or at least break through to others much faster that way.
The blame game never works. Defense adds to defense. Each defense is a brick that builds a wall, slowly, between you and the other person. Instead of saying, “You…” start with yourself. Start with “I.” This may seem backwards from being empathic but watch how it unfolds…
PERSON A: “You hurt my feelings by doing that.”
PERSON B: “I feel sad because…”
Now, which one are you more likely to feel empathy for? The one that began by blaming you or that began with the “I.” Switching the “You” to an “I” reveals vulnerability. It gets to the root, how they are really feeling. It does not begin with defense or saying “you.” To add the last point to this, instead of…
Person C: I am angry that…
Person D: I am afraid that…
Person D has it right! Reveal vulnerability = Reveal root.
Typically, in conflict resolution, we learn that people who focus on themselves are not to be exemplified. But in this case, starting with yourself is better
Here’s another example.
PERSON A: You did this and that…
PERSON B: I am sorry for doing this and for making you feel that…
Which beginning do you think is stronger and more likely to receive empathy? The one that focuses on themselves first! Ever hear that statement –point one finger at another, you have three fingers pointing back?
3) Mirror Me-
Body language is key. You want to mirror the other person’s to the best of your ability. This shows a “likeness.” Where there is identification of self, there is likely to be some idealization. Psychologically, this helps you get your point across. If the person is standing, stand too. Leveling, as unfair as it sounds, changes the power dynamic. If they are sitting, then sit. Don’t exert power over a person with your body language. That is intimidating. A great example is the rules for talking to young children. Educators are taught to “get on their level.” This means to actually bend down to a child’s level and look them in the eyes.
We must do this at every stage in life with every person. We must meet them where they are at. This starts with body language. This continues in all aspects of communication. Likeness creates favorability. Similar values, traits, etc. can all be mirrored in the right context if done with professionalism and tact.
4) Start with the positive–
Oh no, it’s time to conference with others about their work! I hope it will be taken well…
Start with the positive. If someone did ONE thing good that day or week, highlight it first. Think of yourself. Are you more likely to be open to another person if they point out your positives or focus first on your negatives? Unfortunately, it is not easy to not take critiques as “personal.” We all do. A complaint about our performance or behavior feels like a character dig. Are we not valuable as a person? Of course we are! We remind others of that by beginning with the positive, to ensure that they know that their value is acknowledged before critiquing their performance. As with young children, Piaget followers promote that we do not equate a child’s behavior with worth or likability. Everyone is valuable. Do you really believe that? If not, then it’s time to start observing and putting on your listening ears! A key quality to any relationship building practice is to see another’s value. Are adjusting your directions and interactions to individual needs? If not, remember a one size fits all will not work. Each person you speak to will respond differently to you. You must realize that experience, emotional maturity, etc. differ in each individual and much like the title of this article, maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s their communication.
5) Turn. Off. Your. Electronics.
Do NOT send an email!
Do NOT send a text!
Do NOT send a tweet!
Do NOT send a facebook message!
…Unless it is to ask to set up a time to talk about the issue in person, video chat or over the phone.That should do it. Wow, people really like your communication! I mean, you! :-)
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