Archive for February 2009

42-15641366We talked earlier about not making accusatory statements against others when communicating. This is because it puts the other person on the defensive. Instead, you should focus on the positive – which is how the other person’s actions or statements made you feel. No one can argue with you for having feelings and you are more than entitled to them.
Instead of using terms like “you always forget to close the window,” you are better off to use a term like “I get cold when the window is open. Can you please remember to close it? Using “I” statements shows more respect for the feelings of the other person. You are no longer putting them on the defensive and are deflecting any sort of communication to yourself. This eliminates the potential of a conflict in communication style.

Even if you are right when it comes to a potential conflict, such as your partner leaves the bedroom window open all the time, forgets to close it, despite being told repeatedly, and it rains while you are at work, soaking the room, you are better off to resolve the conflict by saying “the window was open all day and soaked the room and I am really upset about it,” rather than saying “you left the window open all day, you moron.

For an exercise, imagine what would be the response if you said the first statement. Chances are that your partner would empathize with you about the window and remember to close it next time. They will most likely apologize for the errant window closing. There is nothing that you can do about what happened while you were at work, but you do not want it to happen again – yet you do not want to have a knockdown, drag out fight over a window
being left open. If you use the first term, you are communicating effectively and positively. You are telling your
partner how you feel about the open window and communicating your wishes about keeping the window closed.
If you use the second term, it is just going to cause conflict. Even though he or she is wrong about the open window, they will still go on the defensive. Your communication is negative and will most likely bring a negative response. You want your partner to remember to close the window – you do not want them to feel guilty over this act for the rest of their life.


j0316768If you are heading towards conflict, you may feel a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. Many people feel this way when they know that something is going to evolve into conflict – you are far from alone. The best way to deal with conflict that is entering in your life it so diffuse it.  How do you do that?

Follow these techniques to diffuse potential conflict:

Identify pending conflict. Learn to recognize stilted communication and hostile behavior before it escalates. Conflict is often like a boiling pot. It starts out simmering, but then, if the heat stays on, it turns into a full boil. If left covered up, the water will run all over the stove and make a mess. Conflict is something of the same. You don’t want it to run all over the stove, so nip it in the bud

Communicate in a positive manner. Using “I” statements, you should talk to the person with whom you are having the conflict and, without making accusatory remarks, tell them how you feel. You can say something like “I feel disrespected when you get upset and leave the room in the midst of a conversation because I want to have resolution right at that time. I need to have closure to a conversation so that we can move on with our day.” Instead of saying: “You need to stop walking out of the room and listen to what I have to say when we are talking”. This is much better and more positive than saying “You seem to have a problem with me.” The first example uses “I” statements and shifts everything to you and your feelings. The second statement is offensive and will most likely put the other person on the defensive and escalate the conflict.

Look for a compromise. Is this something that impedes on your core values or is it something that can be eliminated? Most conflicts start over a trivial matter that can be eliminated if the parties agree to communicate. Seek ways to communicate and possibly compromise so that the conflict can be avoided.

Communicate with the other person using positive communication skills. Stop the conflict cold by addressing it through this type of communication. Because people would rather not address conflict, or pretend that it doesn’t exist, they end up finding more conflict in their lives. When you address the underlying problem directly and in an
emotionally competent manner, you are doing what you can to head off the conflict.

42-15495677Negative communication gets you nowhere. Examples of negative communication are as

  • Shouting
  • Silent treatments
  • Slamming doors or punching walls
  • Nasty e-mails
  • Name calling

These are just a few examples of how communication can be non-productive and negative. None of the above is really effective at anything except for relieving a sore temper.Shouting never solves anything. There is an old saying that during an argument, whoever resorts to shouting first loses. The only reason for shouting is if someone cannot hear you. In most cases, it is used to try to stress how angry another person is. If you catch yourself shouting at another individual, you are losing the argument. You are not being productive you are just creating more animosity.

Want a remedy for shouting? Be aware of the fact that shouting is non productive. If you catch yourself shouting, STOP. Right away! You are not helping your cause; instead you are merely escalating a conflict

More on negative communication in future post…

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j0285144Communication comes in many different forms. It can be written, oral or even visual. It is necessary to be able to communicate with one another in the world. People who have good communication skills can go far in a world that relies on social interactions. Human beings are social animals. We rely on interactions with others for our very survival.
From the time we are born, we are totally reliant on others for our needs. While we all strive to become independent as we grow, we also have an innate need to socialize with others and be part of society. Communication skills are necessary in order to be able to interact with others.

Communication skills are probably the most important asset that anyone can have. Excellent

communication skills can be just as valuable as an education. People with good communication skills know the power of words as well as body language and are able to get their ideas across to others with power.Communication is more than just talking about your own ideas. You can never truly be an effective communicator if you do not listen to others. You have to be able to hear the needs of others in order to be able to help them. Communication is not just about spouting off your own ideas; it is about listening to other people, discovering their needs and trying to help them. When you can do this, you can be effective in your communication.

In addition to verbal, physical and written communication, there is also positive and negative communication. In order to be effective when it comes to your communication skills, you need to build positive communication skills and avoid negative communication.

Next post will address negative communication…

February 2009
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