Communication 101

Been ditching the article-writing scene and resorting back to more of prose, poetry, and at times free reflections; but a recent discussion regarding communication calls for one again, and a point-by-point one at that too.

Communication is, has been, and will always be the backbone of a steady relationship. When you lack communication, it’s a sure way of plummeting your relationship to the ground – and it usually starts with the smallest of thing and somehow winds up as webs and webs of inter-coiled and intertwining issues, major issues. (Read: Drama, major drama.)

And I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how the sturdiest relationships falter just because of a minute flaw in communication. So, if this is the world of David and Goliath, communication is surely the David to the Goliath – One stroke from the humble slingshot, and down Goliath goes.

After a brainstorming session over and/or after lots and lots of girl-talks (lots!), endless arguments with the significant other (too many!), and many reflective moments and down-times, I’ve come up with a few pointers to help you be on your way to mastering the David of any relationship.

  • Use the language of your conversation partner.

Take note of the language that your conversation partner uses. Like, perhaps what are the words or jargons that s/he uses to convey an idea, or any word or expression that s/he uses repeatedly. Use that in your sentence. Remember, psychology says that the easiest way to gain trust is if by mimicking (even in micro amounts), because when we mimic someone – that sends the message that we like them. (And people generally like to be liked, so you get the idea.)

  • Follow their non-verbal language and/or cues.

Only 7% of communication is verbal – the remaining 93%? It’s all non-verbal. If s/he leans in, try leaning in a bit; if s/he touches her hand, try briefly touching your hand too; if s/he smiles, then don’t be the idiot who doesn’t smile back (but this one’s given, I sure think so).

Also, pay attention to their pace, intonations, inflections, deflections, basically how they sound like. Except when they’re panicking – Do not follow their panicked pace. Trust me, you do not want to be the buffoon who worsens someone’s panic attack.

  • Always be on their side.

This one’s important, too important even. Do not ever, ever, ever go against the person. It is far too easy to resort to finger-pointing and name-blaming when in a heated argument, and when that happens, conversations turn to war instead of being a media to reconcile. It’s the same concept as do not fuel fire with more fire. Trust me, when you make a person feel like you guys are against each other, puppies start to die. I’m kidding, but it really does not help any situation – and that’s where and when love dies. (I guess that’s the same as puppies dying, actually. Sad, so very sad.)

Remember that to gain trust, patch bridges, and to communicate – You have to remind your conversation partner that you both are a team. You are never against that person, you are always with that person. Never against, always with. So, avoid phrases like, “This is all your fault,” “You ruin my night,” or “You’re wrong.” When the urge comes, have the control over your mouth and shut it down – Stay silent. Don’t say anything and just cool your head off.

Trust me, it’s not worth it, it’s not worth it.

  • Never, ever play the guilt card.

Sentences like “How could you?” and “You’re doing this to me after everything I have done for you?!” should and shall  always be avoided. Like the point before, when the urge comes in a heated argument – Stay silent. Do not let it escape your mouth. It’s not worth it. Remember that to gain trust, it’s never against, it’s always with.

  • Listen to understand…

…Not listen to reply.

Too much of listening nowadays is done for an entirely wrong reason. Too much of listening nowadays is for the purpose to reply back, rather than to fully understand. When you listen to reply, your head is far too busy formulating your impressions and expectations, and this trap will put you in a I-am-better-than-you stance – and that’s exactly putting you against your conversation partner.

Practice listening solely to understand. Ask questions that are really for the purpose of getting to know the what, how, when, and where of the person better.

And solely listen. As you know, more often than not, people just want to be listened to.

(Amateurish and mostly derived from enough personal observations and some discussions with a  few ‘experts’ (mostly self-proclaimed; but seriously I did speak with one Certified Business Coach who has facilitated many communication seminars, she was pretty cool) – I do hope you still enjoy the short writing above and may perhaps get something out of it too!)

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