This is our third article from the series of articles about living an authentic life and our next topic is communication. We are social beings and communication is a crucial factor in our everyday life, at work and at home, with family and with friends, with our bosses and with colleagues. To succeed in our collaborations and have healthy relationships we must learn how to communicate and in this article I am going to present some principles of efficient communication. We have started this series of articles called “Live an authentic life” because we wanted to present and debate topics that can help us live the lives that we want, authentic, beautiful and meaningful. If you have ideas or questions related to this topic, please share them in the comment section below each article.
Communication is what allows us to learn, to become aware of ourselves and of others and it is essential in our development. Developed communication skills help us to have healthy relationships with others, to have a better job, to make our ideas known, to be appreciated. Communication is an art and if we understand the advantages of it, if we learn the basics of communication, if we don`t forget to be sensitive to the needs of others and also be careful of ours, we can say we are rich.
Most conflicts start from communication and most of them can only be resolved through proper communication. But to learn how to properly communicate is a long and complex process which also needs a lot of practice. I hope the following principles of an efficient and satisfying communication will be a good start for you and will help you deal with your process learning how to have meaningful conversations.
Five principles of an efficient, meaningful and satisfying communication:
- Admit that you can be wrong. Although you strongly believe something, you can be wrong. Look for the truth, let aside your ego and analyze the facts and the feelings involved in a situation in order to understand it truly. A situation can be very complicated when we analyze it in a subjective manner, but when we you look at it objectively, it can be different. It is important when discussing to start the conversation with an open heart and try to see what the other says.
- Be clear – make sure you make yourself understood. Give all the information needed that the one listening to you will have the big picture and understand the situation. It happens especially when we discuss with people that know us very well to have expectations from them. We imagine that they must understand what we mean instantly because they know us, but that is not true. There is always a need to be clear when discussing and explain what we want to say. We should never assume the others understand or have to understand us without us giving enough background on an issue.
- When we begin a conversation, we must define the terms. People can have different understandings for the same words, different intensities of the meaning, so we should make sure we have a similar understanding of the words, especially when discussing sensitive topics, it is very important to be on the same page. It is so common that we disagree or misunderstand each other just because we think the other means something when saying something while he can actually mean something totally different. We must always ask and make sure we understood correctly.
- A conversation can be sometimes similar to a debate. We have to make decisions together with other people, take risks and that it is not easy to do. That is why it is important to use arguments when we try to make point. When comes to decide things, it is not enough to say that we want something just because we want it, we have to explain ourselves in order to be clearly understood. We should also make sure we stick to the topic and don`t go around and around with the same arguments.
- Be kind when having a conversation. Listen to the arguments that are presented to you and if you want to contra-argument make sure you don`t distort the meaning of what the other said and change the subject by that. Moreover it is important to use relevant arguments, not just say something because you think you have to say something. Be kind means also to be empathetic with the others and if we don`t have any arguments left it is fair to admit that and the honesty will be appreciated. And that goes the other way around too, if the other does not have arguments, don`t take advantages for that.
Never forget that that a conversation involves at least two persons, so it is not only about ourselves and us sharing what we think – a conversation is also about listening and paying attention to the other / others. The best way is to start each conversation with an open heart to listen and understand the other side of the story. And the result will be a meaningful and healthy relationship.
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