5 Powerful Communication Skills

Imagine you are managing someone and you need to give difficult feedback. You’re cringing at the idea of them taking what you have to say the wrong way. Or, you and your spouse are having the same argument over and over and you don’t know how to break out of it.

How we communicate goes beyond what we say. Below are five skills I have found crucial to effective communication. Utilizing these skills can increase the creativity of a team to saving a marriage.

  1. Resilience – It’s helpful to understand how the brain and nervous system work around discomfort in order to better manage stressful situations. For instance, when we get angry the executive functioning of the brain goes offline and we’re mostly in survival mode–we’re not thinking clearly and may say something we regret. In addition to knowing what is happening, we need to know how to calm our minds and bodies down. This is called self-regulation. This allows us to shift out of limiting states and utilize a fuller spectrum of our capabilities.
  2. Deep Listening – Ever had someone listen to you with their full attention. Unfortunately most people only get that from their coaches or therapists. Many of us never learned how to truly listen to each other. Part of this style of listening is being able to sit in a non-judging stance and use non-defensive language. As you can imagine, this can be helpful not just at work but also in your intimate relationships. How wonderful to have the person you’re angry with hear what you have to say without being defensive! As you can imagine, it’s easier said than done. Resilience is necessary to stay calm while you’re listening to something triggering.
  3. Asking Impactful Questions – Where are your questions coming from? Is your mind already made up and you’re just asking questions to confirm your belief or, are you being curious and open-minded? How we ask questions can stop a budding idea in its tracks, can shut another down or inspire them to expand on their thinking.
  4. Mirroring – One common issue I see in so many of my couples is one person will be speaking from the heart and the other will be responding from the head. In other words, one person will be speaking from a heartfelt and vulnerable place and the other will be disconnected from his or her emotions. This can cause so many misunderstandings and tension in relationships.
  5. Presence – How do you show up? How present are you in conversations? When your project manager comes to you with a concern are you also planning out your next meeting and replying to a text on your phone? When your partner takes you out to a romantic dinner is your mind still at work? How we show up affects not only our leadership, but also the relationships with those we love.

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