By Hall of Fame Speaker Connie Podesta
Bottom line? Communication starts from within. So much of how we react and interact with people comes from the “old tapes” we’re playing in our heads. Old negative connotations being attached to what’s happening in the right here and right now.
Sometimes that’s healthy. Our intuition is there to help protect us from harm’s way. Sometimes, though, it’s not. It’s stemmed from old truths or limited beliefs that don’t serve us.
You see this a lot in second marriages or new relationships. Many of us are dragging the ghosts of relationships past into the one we’re currently trying to nurture, and frankly, that’s not fair to either one of you.
The key? Check yourself. Are you reacting to a conversation because something or someone in your past is making alarm bells go off in your head? Before you react — talk it out assertively. “So, what I heard you say is ______. To me, that feels like _______. Is that what you meant?” That opens up the opportunity to truly understand what is being said, rather than passively assuming. (You know what they say about assuming – right?)
Sometimes it’s not even about another person. Sometimes it’s just us stuck in old patterns of thought that are no longer serving us. The “I’m not good enough,” “I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve…” Stop. No one was born to just be mediocre. To be unfulfilled. To stay stuck. We get to choose to the direction of our thoughts and self-talk – which in turn – chooses the direction of our lives.
Good assertive communication in your relationships is vital – as is understanding the intent of the other person in the conversation. Is the intent positive or game-playing? Keep in mind, both are intentional. You can be intentional about having a real conversation that moves a relationship forward. You can also be intentional about using manipulation such as fear or anger to get your way – or allow someone else to use those tools on you. What is the end result that you want? Start there.
Will there be times when no matter what you do, you’ll hit a wall because of another person’s personality or communication style? Of course. You can have a boss that makes assertive communication impossible. A coworker who is unyielding in their aggressive behavior. Even a family member who insists on being the black cloud of negative emotion and biting conversation. You get to choose what you put up with and what you do not. Allowing other people to treat you poorly or sabotage you should not be an option. Sometimes you absolutely have to refuse to be drawn into the drama and manipulation and choose instead to walk away. In some cases that is definitely the more powerful move. and leaves your self-respect intact.
Your health and well-being are up to you. Take stock in the way you are communicating to yourself and with others. If it’s not serving you, it’s high time for a change.
Watch this to learn more:
You might also want to check out my series The Top 10 Things You Need to Quit to Be a Better Communicator on YouTube.
Could your team members benefit from strong, timely communication skills with a serious psychology spin? Want to help them listen more effectively and develop stronger connections with clients, colleagues and customers? Give me a call! I’ve got just the right keynote topic for your next event.