Mindful Communication: Empowering Your Relationships
Posted on March 6th, 2011
The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished. ~ George Bernard Shaw
Relationships are built on the degree of effective communication between individuals. Taking the time to consider the quality of our communication skills can vastly improve the energy of our relationships. So often much of the conflict that occurs in life stems from simple miscommunication. Let’s explore some of the ways we can become more mindful in the delivery of our conversations.
Being the Communicator.
No matter how clear and coherent we present our words in speech or text, our thoughts never 100% become fully translated in communication to another person. One can often become frustrated when someone doesn’t understand what one says or requests. To dissolve this frustration, we can take a step back as an observer to this conversation:
*did I relay information in a manner that truly reflected the concept I wished to present?
*am I being patient and appreciative that the concept I am presenting may be new or unfamiliar to the recipient?
*am I allowing my conversation to occur in a receptive environment?
*are the words and method of delivery properly representing the tone of my intended conversation?
*am I being patient when others require clarification on the thoughts and concepts I present?
*am I communicating with intentions of “presenting” versus “expecting”?
When a conversation shows signs of struggle or frustration, we as the communicator should pause to reflect on our responsibility in presenting information and concepts. We should also acknowledge that everyone is individual in how they receive and process information – some people are more visual where as others more readily receive information through verbal communication. We can also be mindful of how some forms of communication like emails and texting can grossly distort the tone of an intended conversation.
Being The Recipient.
We cannot shift all the responsibility onto the communicator when making a conversation effective. The recipient has a crucial role in being an active listener. An active listener is one who purposefully allows information to fully enter as the conversation proceeds. This can be difficult when the recipient is asked to process and engage the conversation. Typically, the recipient processes the information delivered by the communicator and, in a means to engage the conversation, projects those thoughts midway of the communicator’s presentation hence ‘cutting off’ the other person mid sentence. This usually has negative consequences on a variety of levels.
Being an active listener takes skill and ultimately is a reflection of respect towards the conversation. Like the communicator, the recipient can also benefit from observing one’s patterns and role in conservations:
*am I being fully patient and allowing the communicator to deliver thoughts and concepts without interrupting?
*am I putting more attention to how I will respond instead of listening fully to the other person?
*rather than cutting off the conversation to share my point of view, can I instead write down my important thoughts to present later?
*rather than trying to interpret unclear concepts or tones, am I taking the time to clarify and ask questions?
*am I being genuine in being a true recipient to the conversation?
When both sides of a conversation take responsibility for the roles they are taking, communication becomes more fluid and harmonious. Even if there are differences of opinion, strong communication skills can empower your relationship with others and ultimately the relationship with yourself. When we are able to communicate with others in a respectful and constructive manner (regardless of the nature of the engagement), we learn to become more grounded with the way we converse internally and how we flow with our thoughts and emotions.
Article by My Yoga Online co-founder and teacher Kreg Weiss.
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