Communicating effectively requires two simple steps:
1. Seeking to understand. How? Focus the attention on the speaker. Listen to every word, nuance, what’s not being said, the feeling behind the words. There is little or no attention to the listener’s own inner voice. The responses here may be in the form of questions to clarify and understand. What is the speaker’s voice telling me? At this level of listening, the goal is to understand. Self-management is a must. Focus on listening.
2. Expressing one’s self. How? Be intentional. Stay focused and limit unnecessary words. Time and energy is often wasted in defending and explaining one’s position. There may be times when clarification is necessary, be clear, concise, succinct. Tell the truth; don’t fake it. A phony is spotted from miles away and that kind of inauthenticity is an energy drain.
Effective communication is seeking to understand and be understood, to enhance relationships through mutual respect. Once these two basic skills are mastered, the skills modeled get reflected back and the process feels effortless.