5 Steps to Positive Communication
As you seek to make healthy changes, you may need to negotiate for time, space, or other sorts of support. Perhaps you need your partner to take over childcare so you can go for a run. Maybe you need a coworker to take the lead on a project because you’re feeling overwhelmed. Learning to express yourself well is the key.
Other people, whether family members, friends, or coworkers can’t read your mind or simply understand what will help you. Instead, they need you to share your thoughts, ideas, and feelings clearly and honestly.
Here are five easy steps to take:
Compliment: Make sure to start with a sincere compliment to the other person.
Don’t add: Ifs, ands, or buts in the statement following your compliment.
Offer options: Always offer at least two options. Make these options that benefit both of you, whether that benefit happens now or later. You’ll help the other party feel empowered by offering more than one choice. But, two options is plenty. It’s equally important to not overwhelm with too many choices.
Seek opinion: Ask their thoughts about the options. This way they are already feeling like an owner of the solution. When you show someone that you care about their opinion, they are more likely to be more open to what you have to say.
Listen and reflect: Repeat your understanding of what the other person said. This will help to clear up any potential conflict from something being misunderstood, and it will allow for a more open conversation.
Keep in mind that if you use this style of communication, there are times you will need or want to skip certain steps because they may not be appropriate for that specific circumstance. Consider these as guidelines, not guarantees, to help you to improve communication.
Respect your supporter network. Be aware of restrictions on their availability as well as their good intentions. Be willing to listen and accept how they feel too.
Seek help as a sign of strength. You are in control of yourself. Asking for, and receiving help, does not make you weak, but is a sign of strength.