“We can disagree without being disagreeable.” ~ Barak Obama
One of the best ways to dramatically improve communication about difficult issues is to respect the right of each individual to have their own point of view, whether we agree with it or not.
Clearly we all have our own perspective about situations, but so often rather than “communing”, that is sharing our views, ego gets in there and tries to prove it is right and the other is wrong. With this, the discussion quickly becomes an argument.
The goal of human communication ideally should understand. We talk with one another to express our thoughts, to share our internal world. What we say is often only a small part of what we think and feel inside.
So, when another expresses a thought, our aim should be not only to hear the idea, but also to get a sense of all that lies behind that thought. We might explore this deeper part by asking the individual to say more about it, or explain why they feel as they do, or how they came to their conclusions.
When we do this, we often find we did not fully understand where they were coming from. We may also gain an insight into the situation we did not have before. An effective communicator learns as much about the other’s perspective as possible, and communicates that understanding.
Once the other knows we understand their thinking, they are much more open to listening to the way we see things. We may find there are points of agreement. W e may also find that we still disagree, but now we both understand where the points of disagreement lie. This is all about understanding, and not at all about proving who is right or making the other wrong.
This is an intelligent, respectful and mature approach to dealing with others. Whether we are parents, children, business partners, colleagues or even politicians we would all do well to elevate our communication to this level.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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