DID I MEAN IT? BETTER BELIEVE I DID. Today the blog is focused on what we say, when we say it and what effect our words have on our lives and other’s. This week I witnessed someone reacting to an exchange of words and from that exchange, I learned a lot about the effects our communication/conversations have on each other. This exchange can be a positive influx of feelings building the relationship to a higher level or can be devastating to each person involved.
I go back in my mind to recall a humorous memory regarding my maternal grandmother who was resistant to her stay at the nursing home. My Mom went out every day to check on Grandmother and bring her necessities and goodies she loved. My grandmother had dreaded the thought of the nursing home and had a misconception that it was a house of horrors and she was their next victim. My Mom who understood that being nice to the caretakers might help instead of my Grandmother being on guard and complaining on how she was being treated. The staff was probably trying their best, but let’s face it when someone gets older, especially since my Grandmother was over 90 years old, it hurts when you are moved or bathed. On this particular day, my Grandmother, who only stood about 5 foot tall and never can I remember her with an ounce of fat on her body was on a tirade when Mom came in with “They are trying to kill me; they hurt me; and I want to go home.” All of this was said in a loud voice which was strange coming from this little lady. Mom tried to calm her and while she was failing to make Grandmother understand that niceness goes a long way, the doctor walked in. After Mom telling the doctor Grandmother could be nicer to the staff and hoping to get reinforcement from him, the doctor looked at Grandmother and asked her “Now, Ms. Lillie how old are you?” Of course, Grandmother who was sharp as tacks until she passed replied, “91” to which he looked at them both and said, “91, let her rip”
I tell this story for a point. Mom was attempting to minimize any confrontation and my Grandmother just wanted to be heard. She didn’t want to lose her voice in matters as it was important to her to maintain independence. She wasn’t trying to be nasty as she was more concerned about losing her identity. The doctor was right as the staff, well trained, understood that component of life. All of us as we begin losing our independence in life become more vocal and little things are exaggerated to prove we are still paying attention.
I found an excerpt from an article on How to Communicate Effectively and wanted to share the 10 tips on this subject. The entire article can be accessed by clicking on the link from the title below:
10 Ways to Communicate Effectively
- Pause before responding. I don’t know about you, but I’m often in a rush for something and whenever I’m trying to communicate, I’m usually trying to do so quickly. As hard as it is for me to just pause sometimes, I’ve actually found that it works wonders when it comes to communicating more effectively with others. Sometimes just that tiny break, giving you time to think, is just what you need to really understand what someone else has said or to formulate the thoughts you really want to convey.
- Be trustworthy and honest. When you’re trustworthy and honest, communication becomes a lot less complicated. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to say wrong and you don’t have to worry about uncovering a secret or a dishonest statement. If you remain open, honest, and worth of trust, you’ll have a much easier time communicating with others and others will be a lot more willing to communicate with you. Words like “trustworthy” and “honest” are thrown around a lot, but they really are valuable and they are particularly important when it comes to communication.
- Don’t rush communication. This goes back to the point that came up in #1. When you’re rushing and trying to get through your communication quickly that’s when things can go wrong. Often when we’re in a rush, we forget things or misplace things and the same goes for when we’re rushing through any type of communication. So next time you find yourself communicating with someone else, slow down and really pay attention. Taking just a little extra time could end up making a huge difference.
- Adapt your ideas to others. When we come up with an idea, we often have a set image of it in our minds and that image isn’t always easily conveyed to others. If you really want your ideas to be heard, you have to work with the person you’re speaking to and find a way to communicate that idea in a way s/he will understand. This means you have to take the time to get to know your audience if you really, truly want to be able to communicate with them effectively.
- Stay in the moment. You know I love this one! When you devote your full attention to the person or people you are communicating with, you’re more likely to have much better results. I know for a fact that’s very, very true. Whenever I’ve gotten distracted and stopped paying attention to the person I’m communicating with, the communication as quickly gone south. If you want to communicate your thoughts effectively, you have to stay in the present moment and really be there when you’re speaking and listening.
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues. This is essential when it comes to effective communication. So much of what we say is actually not said, and if you want to understand what others are really thinking or saying you have to do more than just listen. You have to look and experience too. It’s very easy to say something and not really feel it so it’s very important that, when communicating, you look both at your own non-verbal cues and those others are sending you. There’s a lot to be said for what’s not really being said.
- Intend to understand. This idea comes from Stephen Covey and focuses on the concept of listening to actually understand what is being said, rather than listening just to respond with what you want to say. This can be a tricky thing to do if you’re anything like me, always ready to respond with your own opinion. Too often we’re not really trying to understand what others are saying but instead are trying to find a way to jump from their points to our own. Next time you’re communicating, do what you can to really work on understanding what others are saying.
- Be patient and open-minded. Communication, even the easiest of communication, can be tough at times, which is why it’s so very important to be both patient and open-minded in your interactions with others. Recognize that you might not necessarily be communicating as effectively as you’d like and remember to also be patient with yourself. No matter what the situation, there is a way to communicate — sometimes it just takes time. Be patient and keep your mind open for new ways of sharing and understanding.
- Follow up after communicating. To often we assume that whatever we’ve attempted to communicate was received just the way we sent it and, unfortunately, more often than not that’s just not the case. If you’re communicating with someone (especially if it’s important!), make sure that you follow up after you’ve communicated. Assuming that your message was heard and understand is a big no-no in the effective communication world. No matter how obvious your message might seem, it never hurts to follow up
- Ask for feedback from others. When it’s all said and done, one of the best ways you can learn to communicate more effectively (particularly with specific individuals) is to ask for feedback. Take some time to speak to those who you communicate with frequently to find out how you can improve on your communication with them. Sometimes all it takes is a few suggestions and you’ll be on the road to creating a better understanding with someone else. It’s not always easy to ask for feedback, but it’s worth it!
The article from Positively Present which I loved Dani’s presentation can be found at: Positively Present
As much as we want to “let it rip” it is wise to use these tips until we get to the age where allowances might be made. It is our responsibility to choose our words carefully and wisely. The life you save may be your own. Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the Fullest by Wisely Living it!
(C) Copyright 2012-2017 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location for reference credit.