How to be a Skilful Communicator - An Excerpt

Posted on Monday, 18th March 2019

Communicating how we feel to people in our lives can be challenging at times. I've written about this in my blog post Difficult Conversations & How to Have Them

Communication is one of the most important factors in a relationship, but is often the factor that gets lost for myriad reasons.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Peter Bregman on with some of his tips on how to be a skillful communicator.

"1. What outcome do I want? It seems obvious, but in reality it’s unusual that we ask this question. Often we react to what other people are saying, to our own emotions, or to a particular situation. But those reactions lead to haphazard outcomes. Start by thinking about the outcome you’re aiming for, and then respond in a way that will achieve that outcome.

  1. What should I communicate to achieve that outcome? Once you know your outcome, identifying what you want to say is much easier. If I want to be closer to someone, “I’m hurt that you didn’t include me” is clearly a better choice than “I can’t believe you didn’t include me!” That small word difference represents a huge shift in meaning. Of course, for many of us it’s emotionally much easier to say “I’m angry” than to say “I’m hurt.” One feels powerful, the other vulnerable. But I’m hurt is more true, more clear, and therefore, more trustworthy. This is one reason why emotional courage is so critical to being an effective communicator and a powerful leader.
  1. How should I communicate to achieve that outcome? Your goal here should be to increase your chances of being heard. So instead of considering how you can most clearly articulate your point, think about how you can predispose the other person to listen. Ironically, you don’t do this by speaking at all. Instead, be curious and ask questions. Recap what you’re hearing. Then, before sharing your perspective, ask if you’ve understood the other person’s. If not, ask what you missed. If you hear a yes, ask, “Can I share my perspective?” A yes to this last question is an agreement to listen. And since you just gave a great example of listening, the other person is far more likely to return the favour.
  1. When should I communicate to achieve that outcome? For many of us, communication is a gut reaction. The rule here is simple: Don’t communicate just because you feel like it. Communicate when you are most likely to be received well. Ask yourself when you are most likely to approach the communication with curiosity, compassion, and clarity, and when the other person is likely to be generous and calm."

An exceprt from an article on published in February 2019

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