[Communication Challenge] Day 7: Be Complete
If you’ve been blasting through the lessons in our 10-Day Communication course, then you will have acquired a few important skills that will help you with today’s lesson. By now you should be practicing how to be really present to communication when it happens, and also noticing that sometimes little prickles and frustrations can rise to the surface. When that happens, you’re job is just to face things and observe what happens. It will get better, easier and you will understand more about the situation the more you do it.
We’ve also talked about the tremendously valuable communication trick of being interested compared to being interesting. One will help you feel much more natural and authentic in your communication and will make communicating much, much easier.
Now today’s lesson will build on these previous tools and take it one step further. Just like any muscle, the more you practice these communication skills, the easier it will be to do all the time! If you learn today’s tip and put it into practice, you’ll understand one of the most time and energy-sucking mistakes people make in communication and how to avoid it.
Just this one trick will make people so much happier when they communicate with you, and it will make you feel brave and in control of communication and of your life!! Go ahead read below for more tips, and listen to the accompanying power podcast for more tips on the action step!
“The deepest desire of the human spirit
is to be acknowledged.”
Those Awkward Moments
In the accompanying podcast for today’s lesson, I share some funny experiences I’ve had with my husband when he’s tried to finish conversations with me. He’s been well trained in military manners and social graces and so sometimes gets himself into sticky situations because his need to be “polite” stops him from being able to just communicate. I get a kick out of it, and in the podcast share some of the things I’ve done to encourage him to “shut me up” or at least understand how to finish communication.
But for practical purposes, so you understand why this lesson is important, think about how you’d feel in the following circumstances:
- You are speaking to someone about something important to you, and as soon as you’re finished speaking, they look at you confused and then turn and walk away without saying a word.
- You ask your spouse to do something for you, they say, “Mmhmmm.” But then you realize it was never done. When you ask about it, they say they never heard you ask that, but you’re sure you did say something!
- You’re speaking to someone about your day, and they just stare at you without responding. Then ask what’s for supper.
- How about when you send out a text to someone you really like. You carefully crafted every word and emoticon just to make it perfect. Then you press send and… *crickets* …and the next day more crickets….
- Someone you really don’t enjoy being around is going on a rant about conspiracy theories and the inevitable death of the human race, and you just want it to stop, but you don’t know what to say that won’t piss the person off or cause more problems so you just sit there listening for 10 minutes… 15… 20… 25…
The Importance of “Stop”
Think of how dangerous it would be if you learned how to start a car, drive a car, but never to stop a car! What about a bike with no brakes? You would feel totally out of control and regularly experience life-threatening situations if you didn’t know how to put a stop to things once they really got going.
The same is true for communication. There are even many types of communication that if you could not stop them, they would be life-threatening. Think of physically or emotionally abusive relationships, or someone nagging at you incessantly. Some of the biggest struggles you’ve had in your life were just communications you didn’t know how to stop or stand up against!
Being able to stop communication you don’t want, or just be able to appropriately finish communication cycles that are happening is one of the most important and most powerful things you’ll learn. But, you won’t learn it by listening to a podcast or reading this blog, you’re going to need to try and practice it when real life dishes situations up on your plate!
Think of how a hard-working mom who gives so much of her life and time and attention and support feels when she’s never thanked for the things she’s done, and how stopping to thank her really sincerely for what she’s given would make her feel. The balance of communication flows is really important to making communicate effective and empowering, and when you practice your ability to effectively finish conversations, and stop the ones you don’t want to keep happening, will shoot your confidence through the roof!!
In addition to making you feel much more in control of your life and your communication, you’ll also discover that other people want to communicate with you more and value their communication with you. Let people know you’ve heard and understood them, and ensure you’ve been understood in return and there will be few things you can’t do with communication.
Action Steps to Improve Your Communication
Pay special attention to completing your communication cycles. Notice if people are answering you, and if you’re responding completely to other people.
When a car stops for you while crossing the street, thank them. Write to someone who did something for you recently that you may not have properly acknowledged, and reach out to let them know you appreciated their help and support.
Did someone send you a card? Write them back. Acknowledge them. While that’s all you need to know to do this exercise, here are some more tips, inspiration and ideas to expand on this topic below. You can check these out if you’d like, but no pressure. Just extras to help you out!
How to End A Conversation When You Don’t Agree With What’s Being Said
Oftentimes, we fail to reply to something someone said because we’re afraid it will cause a fight, this is especially true when we don’t agree with someone, but still are stuck having to speak to them. There is a way to answer and acknowledge a person without having to get into an argument or debate about it, but it does require the skillfull art of ending communication without letting another person’s “argue radar” go off.
Here are a few canned phrases you can add to your arsenal in those circumstances, but it’s really important that you have a particular intention when you communicate. If you’re saying the words below, but actually thinking to yourself, “You’re full of crap, Weirdo!” Then what you’re thinking will come across much more than the words themselves.
Just about any set of words can be communicated with a sassy twist, or hostile intent. It’s not the words that are nearly as important as the intention you put being them. So before you try any of these suggested phrases, make sure the actual intention behind them is something along the lines of the following:
“I totally hear and understand what you’ve said,
and I’m grateful you trusted me enough to communicate
these things to me. Now this is the end of our conversation.”
With that intention in mind, try ending some of your challenging conversations with one of the following phrases posted below. Remember, none of these phrases intend or imply that you agree with the person, they just indicate that you are grateful for the communication and that you have heard and understood. It is by far more important for people to feel they have been heard and understood than it is that their point of view be shared by many others or that you agree with everything they say.
Try these out next time you’re in a sticky conversation with someone you don’t agree with, but still want to acknowledge:
- I hear you.
- Thank you for sharing your perspective.
- I’m glad you shared that with me.
- I totally understand what you’re saying.
- I understand.
- I see what you mean.
How Not to Feel Pressured Into a Decision
Other communication situations that can be challenging to finish are when you feel pressured into making a decision or providing an answer to someone on the spot. If you don’t feel you have time to make a decision, or honestly consider your options, then you may feel pressured into agreeing to something that doesn’t actually fit with who you are and what you really want. That’s not going to boost your mojo!!
A lot of communication goes wrong just because people feel pressured to decide or respond in the moment and so they blurt out an answer, but then after regret what they said or did. Time is a lot like money. You decide where you put it and how you spend it, and the decisions you make about that will significantly influence your overall health, happiness and prosperity in life.
So when you’re in a situation and you’d like to give yourself a little more time, you can try one of these:
- I need to think about that and get back to you.
- I’ll take some time to consider this and let you know what I think.
- Thank you for your comments. I’ll review them and let you know where I stand.
- I appreciate what you’ve said and I’ll get back to you when I have honestly considered the situation
How to Get People to Answer Your Questions
Another way that incomplete communication can drain the juice out of your enthusiasm tank and create problems is when you feel you’ve communicated to someone, and you don’t get anything back. Situations might be that you hear nothing at all, and have no news. But other common situations are that you communicate several ideas or concerns, but only part of it gets answered.
While it’s true there are some people who are trying to cause confusion and harm, a strong majority of them are actually good people who occasionally get distracted, overwhelmed, confused or upset by the challenges of life, and so cause unintentional problems along the way.
If you’ve reached out to someone and haven’t heard anything, try some of the following to get the communication lines flowing book
- If you say something to someone, and they do not respond, simply ask in a calm manner, “Did you hear me?”
- Deliver messages directly to a person (rather than shouting across the room or from another room).
- Get a person’s full attention prior to speaking to them.
- Make sure you get a response that actually answers the question you asked.
If someone gives an answer that is vague or not related to your question, you can calmly say something like, “That doesn’t answer my question.” Maybe the person misunderstood what was asked, and this will give you an opportunity to rephrase the question for better understanding or maybe the person is avoiding the question, and the realization of that being the case can give valuable information as well.
You can sign up for the FREE 10-Day Communication course as many times as you want and go through the messages and just keep upleveling yourself, or join us for one of our live events or online retreats to get more intensive training and support!