Most of us know how communication works between two or more parties. One is expressive, another receptive. I notice we can fall into level one listening, where individuals think of what they are going to say next while the other person is speaking. Some of us often listen for ourselves without ever realizing. At times, I notice that when I share a story about an experience I am currently going through, someone will share an incident from their past that occurred 20 years ago without ever relating it to my experience. It appears that they are speaking just for the sake of speaking yet we also know there are external and internal processors. I wonder, though, how many of us feel unseen, unheard, and misunderstood.
Recently I attended a communication workshop to enhance my communication skills and receive some communication reminders. Here are some takeaways combined with my own afterthoughts of my personal experiences I gained that might be helpful for all of us humans in progress who are trying to become their better selves.
- Assumptions: When we assume that the other person knows what we’re talking about or what we mean without verifying it, misunderstandings can arise. Refer to the first three letters of assume.
- Tone and body language: The tone of voice and body language can impact how a message is received, and if they don’t match the words being spoken, it can lead to confusion or misinterpretation.
- Different meanings: The same words or phrases can have different meanings for different people, based on their personal experiences, culture, and other factors.
- Poor listening: When we don’t listen attentively or actively to what the other person is saying, we can miss important information or misunderstand the message. There are three different levels of listening. It takes awareness and practice to reach level three.
- Emotional interference: Our emotions can sometimes interfere with how we interpret a message, causing us to react in ways that are not helpful for the communication process.
- Noise: Environmental factors such as background noise or distractions can make it difficult to hear or understand the message being communicated.
I find we can fall into the trap of listening to quickly turnaround to give unwarranted opinions and judgments where we can disempower others. I realize some of us rarely own our emotions, and we can work on this to help make changes. I’m sharing some gems for humans in progress as they’ve helped me:
- Observe to listen without opinion or judgment I heard is a higher form of intelligence. None of us needs an education to learn, act, or step into this way of being. The school of life teaches us how it feels when this doesn’t happen for us.
- Know our temperance in our communications, our emotional alarms such as perceived conflict, reactiveness, unawareness
- e.g. I recently observed my sister shared that her friend backed out on her plans for bike riding. My mother reacts and yells out “I don’t know why you hang out with her” and then said “I don’t know why I got so mad.” Through countless repeated patterns, I observed her as in protector mode, reactive, and unaware of her own hurts being left out as a child or other sources of hurt.”
- Reflect on how our personality impacts our communication styles and how that awareness can help in communications.
- Begin to increase coherency between what we think, feel, and what we say by exploring common causes of this disconnect.
- e.g. “I don’t know why I said that. I didn’t mean to say that.”
- Knowing difference of communications from our emotional brains or our wise brains encompassing both our emotional and rational sides where we’re coming from a place of wise mind or self-actualized mind.
Some hallmarks of a better communicator include:
- Active listening: A good communicator actively listens to the other person and shows that they understand their message by reflecting back what was said or asking clarifying questions.
- Clarity: Effective communicators are able to express their message clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon or complex terminology that may confuse the other person.
- Empathy: Being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their perspective is an important aspect of effective communication.
- Nonverbal communication: A better communicator is aware of their nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language, and uses them to convey their message more effectively.
- Flexibility: A skilled communicator is able to adapt their communication style to the needs of the other person or the situation, recognizing that different people have different communication preferences.
- Openness to feedback: Effective communicators are open to receiving feedback and willing to adjust their communication style based on the feedback they receive.
As a fellow human in progress (HIP), part of the HIP community, I am working on this every day to become my better self and invite each of you to join along.
These are some thoughts that make me think of where we are in communications with each other. Thank you for sharing some reminders and insight into how I can step it up.