We’ve all heard the communication buzzwords by now: “active listening”, “healthy resolution”, “paradigm shift”, “strategic communication”, and many more. While these may grab the attention of some, they don’t speak to the basic requirement for adult communication in our modern, high-tech world. For me, the key to better communication is respect; which means, respecting the other person enough to listen to what they have to say, and recognizing it as worthwhile.
Here’s another tried and true – and overused – communication dictum: “Open, honest communication should be part of every healthy relationship.” While this statement is so obviously true it should never need to be said, it presupposes that the parties involved respect each other enough to care what is being communicated. These days, that’s a huge supposition; one which can no longer be taken for granted.
Why Communication Fails
The problem with communication today was summed up perfectly by educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker Stephen Covey:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Take it a step further, and we “listen” to others only to the extent required to argue our side, either to defend ourselves or to denigrate the other person. Doing so makes their argument invalid – at least to us. Of course, since they’re likely doing the same to our argument, we are each talking at cross purposes and, in such cases, will never find common ground.
What does all of this mean? It means that communication is a matter of will. You must be willing to listen before you can even begin to hear what others are saying. You must develop the mindset that enables you to listen well and that empowers others to communicate fully with you. This is another aspect of the wealth mindset we talk about; the type of thinking that values more than mere money and places value on every aspect of life.
Once you’ve set your mind to be a better listener, to show your partner the respect of listening as the key to better communication, you can then begin working to develop improved listening and communication skills. Here are a few good articles that outline those skills for you:
- 9 Steps to Better Communication Today
- How Can We Communicate Better?
- If You Want to Communicate Better, Read This
If you find yourself struggling to communicate in your business and/or personal relationships, or to develop a positive wealth mindset, Send me a note to explore how I can help with overcoming your relationship struggles.