How do you handle breakdowns in communications? Do you jump right in and deal with the issue right there and then or do you hold your thoughts to yourself and simmer away?

The first option certainly means we have to be brave, jumping in and not letting the moment pass. When we act bravely in this moment there is a wonderful sense of achievement as the issue is dealt with successfully…so it is well worth the effort, every time.

In my experience there are three fundamental tools to help with being brave… and they have never failed me yet (particularly when I choose to activate them).

  1. Breathe deeply, minding your feelings and keep them in check. When our feelings are hurt we can tend to hold our thoughts inside rather than sharing them openly. It’s hard work managing our hurt feelings, let alone other peoples too. Taking a moment to breathe deeply will help you look at the problem face to face. Then by keeping our eyes on the issue and reminding yourself, you will be better off dealing with the issue now rather than later, you WILL be able to better manage the negative feelings from taking over and creating a bigger perceived problem. No one loves a great big proverbial elephant filling the room. Just breathe!
  1. Remember to talk JUST about the presenting issue. Is it so important to talk about the problem and not complicate the person into the issue. For example you might say, “I found that comment hard to understand, can you clarify where you are coming from for me?” rather than saying, “YOU are being so unhelpful right now!” By keeping the calm and focused on the issue you will get a far better outcome and gain the clarity you need to explore the matter further. (Can you begin to taste the success already?)
  1. Listen very carefully. In one of my earlier blogs we explored this in more detail, ( however in brief, I am sure you can remember times in your life where you were deeply listened to and how important that was for you at that time. I am sure you can also remember those times or those people who did not listen to you and how that impacted upon your relationship. Both of these experiences change how we see the world and the people in it. Being listened to or not listened to changes us forever. Let’s listen and get it right the first time; set your agenda aside and try to really hear what the other person is truly trying to communicate.

So today let’s be brave when a difficult communication rears it’s ugly head. Take control of your feelings. Keep your eyes solely on the issue and remember how much you love being listened to and offer that same thing to others as often as you can.