As a coach that specializes in marriage, couples and family coaching, it is critical to develop strong and clear keys for communication. How many times have you been faced with a difficult feeling or occurrence that you are reluctant to discuss with your partner? You probably thought, “If I just don’t say anything, I can get past it”?
The problem is most of us can’t get past it. It simmers and swells until we near our boiling point. Finally, we explode. The problem has magnified itself beyond rational conversation. From this miscommunication comes a personal, relational and emotional mess.
I have developed, tested and proven 5 very critical keys to effective and powerful communication. First, you and your partner must give each other permission to discuss your feelings and issues that arise between yourselves. This is very difficult for most people. Why? It requires respect for yourself and your partner. You must have a non-defensive and non-judgmental environment, free from hidden agendas and defenses. Forming this connection will help you to see the others perspective and create a constructive environment.
After we have created this new and trusting environment, the next four keys will challenge and guide you to process information using a new method of constructive communication. Create a new standard and process for yourself (LTRR). What is LTRR?
LTRR, the code to creating and shifting perspective:
Listen- We hear but we are not listening. When we disagree with someone or something, we tend to begin to formulate our reactive response long before the speaking has ended. Take time to listen to all of the information or view.
Think- Process the information you received; all of it. Try to appreciate their perspective. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this perspective? Is it morally acceptable to me? How does this fit or clash with my perspective.
Reframe- Ask yourself questions to help you get clear on a new or different perspective. A question such as; what is your perspective on this that is giving you trouble? What perspective could I take from this that would lead to a more empowered position?
Respond- Finally it’s time to respond. Notice that it doesn’t say react. Respond implies thought and reasoning. Organize your thoughts and your perspective. Share it with others.
Try it. It will be difficult at first and you’ll be dying to react, but don’t. Personally, I utilize a 7 second rule. I don’t respond to new ideas and perspectives until 7 seconds after the person has finished speaking. At first, I had to consciously remind myself; listen, think, reframe, and respond. Now, it just happens. It will just happen for you too.
Communication is a learned skill that requires continuous development and practice. The more we apply these tools, the better we become at utilizing these skills. Just simply giving each other permission to have hurt feelings, ask for specific outcomes and communicate our needs can produce amazing results.
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