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6 Ways to Avoid Communication Breakdown

Communication breakdowns happen to the best of us. Feeling unheard, misunderstood, and judged are frustrating and isolating if you’re trying to have a conversation about something important to you.

It reminds me of this line from the song  Words by Missing Persons, “What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talking at all.”

So, what can you do to ensure you’re being heard?

There are so many facets to effective communication! Here are a few you can implement right away to start clearing out the cobwebs and open the door in your communication.
  1. Take responsibility. When you use responsible sentences like “I believe…” “I think…” and “I feel…” you begin to take ownership in the point you’re trying to make. People on the receiving end are more likely to listen instead of getting defensive, deflecting, and shutting down.
  2. Be a good listener yourself. Ask open-ended questions to find out more about what the other person is trying to say. Don’t jump to conclusions. Try to stay out of judgment. Just be present and hear them out.
  3. Be present to your needs. What are you trying to say and why is it important to you? What is the need behind your communication? What do you REALLY want?
  4. Shut down disrespect by calling it in and addressing it. Likely, the person on the other end of the conversation also has an unmet need. If you inquire about their emotions, usually they’ll come around. ** However, you do NOT have to take abuse. Call it in, address it, and walk away.
  5. Handle your emotions. It’s easy to let those suckers fly – especially when it’s something that’s a bigger issue or need. Remember, you’re more likely to be heard when you aren’t blaming or needing to be right or “better than” the other person.
  6. Be direct. Side-stepping or “beating around the bush” is cultural conditioning. If you tend to do this, you likely learned it from a parent. That’s ok. You can break through this with practice. Be brave and bold enough to say what you need to say.

There are so many other nuanced approaches to adjusting the way you communicate so you feel heard, understood, and accepted.

In The 7 Keys to Being Human, we spend a week breaking through the conditioning and learning new and effective ways to keep the communication pathway crystal clear – and that’s just ONE of the topics in this 7 week group coaching journey.

May your conversations go more smoothly today and every day.

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