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Communication Skills are Not Just About Talking

Tag: Communication,Personal GrowthBeth and Neill

A Gift That Keeps on Giving The gift of listening

With the gift giving season fast approaching, we want to tell you about a gift you can give to anyone you’re in a relationship with.

Are you having [tag-tec]communication problems[/tag-tec] in any of your relationships-at work, at home, or with friends? Do you ever wish there was something you could give to someone that would improve your relationship? Would you be surprised to learn there really is such a gift?

If you want to strengthen, enhance, and grow your relationships, the best gift you can give is the gift of presence. Now, we’re not talking about anniversary, birthday, or Christmas presents … The presence we mean is the gift of listening to the other person without thinking about yourself at all.

“If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.”
~ Marge Piercy

Being present for another person doesn’t just mean listening to them without speaking. It requires that you really put yourself and your desires aside for the moment so you can fully hear what they have to say. When you give the gift of presence, you’re not only showing other people that you appreciate and support them, you’re also opening the door to discovering what’s really important to them-the hidden values underneath their words.

This week, identify one thing you can do in relation to this awareness and take action. Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

With love, or
Beth and Neill


Dealing with Difficult People? Learn to Handle them in a Constructive Way

How Do You Deal?

Do you end up [tag-tec]dealing with difficult people[/tag-tec] on a regular basis? If so, are there times when you want to just run in hide, or click your heels and make them disappear? Or are you the kind of person that gets angry and combative right back at them? Either way, these situations can be very stressful. But don’t worry…

The good news is that there are ways to deal with these people that are much less stressful and you’ll also end up feeling much more satisfied with the outcome.

Believe it or not, some people don’t let these kinds of situations bother them. They simply stay calm and stress-free when confronted with upset and anger. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they know? Well now you can! Here are a few simple tips that will help you breathe a sigh of leave the next time you end up dealing with an angry person.

Often times when we realize someone is upset the first thing we do is take personal responsibility. We believe that the only reason they’d be disturb–and letting us about it–is that it must be about us. The first thing to understand is that when managing these kinds of situations is that it’s not about you, it’s really all about them!

I can guess what you’re probably thinking: “What you mean don’t take it personally, when there are someone screaming at me and telling me it’s my fault!”

I understand how difficult this will be at first, but when you begin to appreciate this one point, it becomes much easier to avoid taking these things personally: Every statement you hear someone say comes from a deep and inherent desire to satisfy their needs or to support something they value. And you most likely do the same thing – its normal human behavior.

Unquestionably Everything stems from either Needs and Values.

As an example, someone who is upset may just have a need for consideration, or they might in reality value dependability. By getting upset, they are attempting to satisfy these needs or honor what they value.

Let’s say that an angry man has a conversation with Gandhi (while he was alive). And he said to Gandhi, “You’ve never had a difficult life so don’t pretend to you know what suffering is. People wait on you hand and foot! You’re such a phony!”

Can you imagine Gandhi responding to this as some people would– defensively, with anger and critical words? “What do you mean phony? Try doing what I do every day… you wouldn’t last a minute. You an ignorant little man– you probably don’t even work for a living!”

Now I’m sure you can imagine where this conversation would end up!

It’s almost impossible to think of Gandhi reacting this way, but why not ? What does he know that most of us don’t?

Gandhi knows that the man upset stems from his own challenging life and is just venting about his own pain. The man is angry because his needs have not been satisfied, and things in his life are out of harmony with his values.

So, from now on, when confronted with difficult people, try to remind yourself that absolutely everything people say or do is an effort to meet their needs or support something they value.

The next you’ll are in one of these uncomfortable situation–STOP–don’t justifying yourself, instead start by reminding yourself that their anger isn’t about you, it’s about them and their situation.

Don’t take it to personally.

Consider this: Do you want your happiness to be dependent upon others, or do you long for the kind of happiness that you have complete control over? Take charge of the situation by aligning your values with the actions you take.

Another great way to stay calm when dealing with others’ who are upset or angry is to be curiosity. Ask questions such as, “Hmm, they seems very tense and upset. I wonder what’s going on in their life that has them feel this way.”

Stop and take a if you minutes to empathize with their circumstances and think, “If I behaved the way they’re behaving toward me, what could possibly be going on in my life?” Then guess what it could be.

Changing your focus of attention in this way can truly set you free. You’ll stop acting or feeling defensive. This focus will lead you to a much more peaceful place and will help you to fill your life with happiness, and a multitude of satisfying relationships you’ll truly enjoy.

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.”
~ Albert Einstein

Let’s review: – Tension and defensiveness isn’t the only way to deal with difficult people. – everything people say or do is in support of something they value or to meet some need. – Their upset is not about you, don’t take it personally. Take on the attitude of being curious. – Your happiness is not dependent on how others act or what they say.

When dealing with difficult people, this approach will help you open the door to a renewed sense of happiness and freedom you will no longer be restricted by your circumstances. You get to choose how you respond and what actions you will take.

If you want to start interacting differently with people who are upset, you must first practice the essential skills that create a more peaceful, happy life. If you’re ready to create that kind of life now, sign up for our thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series. The sign-up form is at the top right hand side of your screen. Don’t wait, sign up today. You’ll be happy you did.

With love and great appreciation,
Beth


How Do You Deal With Angry People?

Like most things, how you respond to another person’s anger is probably different depending upon your relationship with them and the circumstance. At the same time, you’ll probably recognize some patterns in how you deal with anger

Do you shut down, clam up, and hope they’ll go away? Do you puff up and try to out-bluster them? Do you start explaining, apologizing, or simply flee the scene?

If any of this sound like you, then you’re probably missing the two most important parts of dealing effectively with someone else’s anger, whether it’s a minor upset or full-blown rage.

First, you’ve probably heard someone say, “They are angry at me.” or “I made them angry.” This is the first fundamental mistake most people make when dealing with anger. They falsely believe that someone else can be angry “with them” or that they “can cause” another person’s anger.

The truth is, another person’s upset, anger, or even rage is never ever about you. It is always about how scared the other person is about whether or not they’re going to get something they value, keep something they value, or lose something they value. In other words, it’s always about them and what they value. Always.

Stop Taking It Personally!

When you realize this you can begin to stop taking other people’s anger personally. And this gives you the freedom to really get underneath their anger and create practical, effective solutions that get to the heart of the matter.

Beth and I co-authored an article about this topic that appeared in this month’s issue (Sept. ’08) of the NonviolentCommunication.com eNewsletter. You can read more about this idea of “not taking it personally” there. But I wanted to expand a little bit on one of the points that we made in that article.

And that’s the second most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with anger. And that’s to apply your sharply focused attention on separating the “stimulus” for anger from the “clause” of anger. I say “sharply focused attention” because this is no simple task to separate stimulus from cause, a specially given most people’s lack of experience or training in distinguishing between the two.

Separating Stimulus from Cause

Take the two statements I used as examples above. Both of these statements imply that the stimulus and cause of the other person’s anger is the person making the statement. In fact, it must’ve been something the person said or did, didn’t say, or didn’t do that stimulated this anger reaction in the other person.

But even if you plug in these facts, the statements still do not get to the root of the anger. “Bill is angry because I didn’t return his phone call” “Mary is angry because I didn’t pick her up at the airport on time.” Again, these actions or inactions are only the stimulus for Bill’s and Mary’s anger.

At the root of the anger is their belief that they’re not getting something they value. In this case it might be something like consideration, predictability, or caring. So if you can apply your sharply focused attention to determining what it is that Bill and Mary might value that’s missing for them, you’re much more likely to begin to have a conversation with them about how important those things are to them and how they might be able to get them in the future.

Not Getting What You Want Never Makes You Angry

But even given all that, it’s important to realize that the bills and Mary’s anger is not caused by the fact they are not getting something that is important to them.

So what is the cause? Both Bill and Mary are afflicted with “should” thinking and have adopted the strategy of “being angry” as the best way to get other people to do what they “should” do.

What is “Should Thinking” you ask? Well, that’s the subject of another post.

Until then, I am committed to your success,
Neill Gibson


Little Known Ways to Rebuild Intimacy in Your Relationship – Part 1

Relationship Issues?

Do you ever find yourself worrying about your relationship–wondering if you’re even on the same page anymore? Are you mostly concerned about how to rebuild the intimacy you once had?

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t give up now, there is hope. It’s likely you still believe your relationship is worth some effort or you wouldn’t even be reading this article.

Read on and discover seven simple ways you can rebuild the relationship intimacy you once had. Learn how to heal old wounds so you can walk forward hand-in-hand with renewed hope for your future together.

Seven Steps that Rebuild Intimacy – A Seven Part SeriesRebuild Intimacy

Make sure you don’t miss any of these important steps. We’ll post one a day for each of the next six days.

Step 1: Create a Safe Space for Open Dialogue.

Many experts will tell you simply to let your partner know how you feel, what you want, and how you want things to be. Then somehow, if you just get honest enough, everything will start to get better.

While we agree that honesty is the best policy, we also believe that how and where you begin this conversation makes a huge difference in the outcome.

We suggest that you start by creating a space for open dialogue–one with some communication guidelines that will help both of you feel safe and comfortable. Start by exploring whether there’s anything that would prevent either of you from speaking honestly.

We’ve found people are often worried about judgment, criticism and bringing up past wounds. Spend some time discovering anything else that might cause either of you discomfort about having this dialogue. Then come up with some guidelines that will create a safe space for both of you. Try these for starters:

• Agree that you’ll refrain from judging or criticizing your partner–or yourself.
• Agree that you’ll refrain from analyzing past events to determine who was right and who was wrong.

Add any other guidelines to your list that you believe will help you create a safe space for open, honest communication.

Read Part 2 of this 7 part series, or sign up for our RSS feed so you will be notified automatically when it’s posted.


Effective Business Communication – How to Eliminate the Number One Obstacle

Do you wish you had the ability to inspire people into action so they could more easily create greater success and rewarding results? Would you like to know how to foster willing [tag-tec]cooperation[/tag-tec] in ways that everyone enjoys?

Whether you already have good [tag-tec]communication skills[/tag-tec], you’re taking [tag-tec]business communication[/tag-tec] courses and are practicing what you’re learning, or if you realize it’s time to look into new business [tag-tec]communication methods[/tag-tec], this article will help you take your business communication to the next level by learning to create alignment with other people.

What do we mean by alignment, and how can you create it? Read on to find out

Alignment – It’s Not Just for Tires

If you’re like most people, it’s likely that the only time you think about alignment is during your regular car maintenance. While that’s not the “alignment” we’re talking about here, it does operate on the same principle.

In order for your car to function at its best, it’s important that your tires are aligned – that they’re all moving in the same direction. The same is true for any [tag-tec]business relationship[/tag-tec]; they’ll be at their best when the people involved are aligned and moving in the same direction toward a result that is  desired by everyone.

What we’re talking about here is not about improving your communication skills or just learning new [tag-tec]listening techniques[/tag-tec]. Establishing effective business communication, or any interaction where people need to work together to create the best outcome, begins with creating alignment.

Think about it this way: in life, we go about the activity of our lives, heading in our own directions while we’re trying to achieve our own results. At the same time, we are all inter-connected with each other. As we try to achieve the results we want, these interconnections put limits on how far we can go in our direction without the involvement of others.

However, when we have alignment with others about what we want and we start sharing the same vision, it makes it much easier to cooperate with the others involved to get our desired outcomes. Alignment opens the way for mutual satisfaction and greater success.

The First Step is Internal Alignment

Before you can create alignment with someone else, you need to identify and be able to express what’s most important to you about the outcome you want. To do this, you’ll need to identify the underlying [tag-tec]values[/tag-tec] hidden within your desired outcome.

As an example, perhaps your team tends to come lat e to meetings and this impacts your ability to accomplish the objectives of the meeting. So you want everyone in the office to show up 10 minutes before a meeting starts. When you dig down to find the hidden value, you might discover that consideration is very important to you, or you might highly value efficiency and effectiveness. Just remember, within every desired outcome there are values that motivate you to want that in the first place.

Key Points for an Alignment Conversation

Once you identify your own underlying values, it’s time to discover the values that you share within the team, partnership or group. You start this discovery process by expressing the values you’ve identified as important to you in your work environment. Then you ask if those things are also important to the others involved, and if they would be willing to explore ways to create that kind of experience.

As you start the alignment conversation, it’s important to remember to keep it as strategy-free as possible. During this beginning stage, we suggest that you make an agreement with the other person to try and identify what’s important to you about the issue at hand , such as starting meetings on time, before you figure out any strategies to get the specifics of what you want. Once you’ve agreed upon your shared vision, there will be plenty of time to move on to the specifics of how to reach your goals.

It’s also wise if you and the other person, or group, agree to avoid spending time talking about the failures of the past. (Bringing up the past can be useful, but only if it is done to understand the values that may have been missing in the past, but not to assign fault or to justify your skepticism.)

Some other things to include in the alignment conversation include:

  • A willingness to negotiate strategies that are mutually agreeable
  • A commitment to let go of judgments and criticisms
  • An agreement to celebrate all wins that come from this conversation

Putting Alignment Conversations to Work

Alignment conversations are the process of discovering your shared values and creating a shared vision. The [tag-tec]shared vision[/tag-tec] you create might be something like: having a more harmonious working relationships, being more effective, or increasing productivity.

Once you are sharing the same vision, you’re now working toward the same end result — the big picture of what you all want. This will make it easier to create situations that produce results that everyone will enjoy. Once you’ve define your shared vision, you’re ready to effectively [tag-tec]negotiate[/tag-tec] strategies to achieve your desired results.

When everyone is making agreements from a shared vision, you’ll start rolling down the road to cooperation and teamwork with far fewer bumps than you encountered before. Alignment and shared vision are the foundation of cooperation and teamwork that will increase productivity and create rewarding results for everyone involved.

 


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