Welcome to day 23 in the series…
Yesterday we introduced Habit #4 and why it is important to be even more deliberate about “Connecting” than “Correcting”. Today we will look at one way we can all get better at connecting, through communicating effectively.
Communication is the life blood of relationships. Developing the skill of good communication is time well-invested, because it can pay huge dividends in the quality of the relationship you enjoy. Ask any couple who have lived together happily for ten years or more about the secret to their success, and communication will be one of the first things they mention.
But what do they mean by communication? We all know how to use a combination of words, tone and body language, so how is it that some couples get it so right and some so wrong? The word “communication” is often used as the broad, all-encompassing term for the way we choose to interact with each other, and the meaning and emotions conveyed through that interaction.
Couples that get communication right, more often than not, have learnt to interact with each other in a way that demonstrates love and their commitment to the relationship, rather than just stringing words together and being careless with tone and body language. In fact, the actual words contribute very little to communication – some studies suggest as little as 7%. Most of the communication is done through body language, facial expression and tone of voice, so we must learn how to align these, so we deliver the message we intend… and nothing else!
Beyond what is being said and how it is being said – which are crucial for starts – good communication is about creating a safe environment in which both partners feel free to speak openly about any issue, no matter how simple or painful, confident that the relationship will be strengthened through the process. It’s about learning to “turn up” well yourself as a safe, caring person and understanding each other’s communication style, so you can look beyond what is being said to what is meant. Often this includes undoing unhelpful habits and behaviours that have been learnt…
Something to think about: Realistically, how would you score yourself (out of ten) on your ability to communicate well with your partner? How good are you at genuinely listening? How do you think they would score you on both fronts? Try and find a quite few moments at some stage today to think about that.
Tomorrow we’re going to be looking at different communication styles and how understanding these styles – or not – impact the quality of the communication and the outcome. So keep a watch out for tomrrow’s email. See you then.