In my experience of working with thousands of people across age groups, belonging to different generations, different culture, race or color, there is one thing that is common between all of us, and that is the need for connection.
People need people, and as human beings, we are not designed to live in isolation. This need for connection forms the basis of all relationships. In fact, we are emotionally healthiest when we are socially connected. We are happiest when we have trusting and supportive relationships in our life. Isn’t it?
But relationships are not always easy. Sometimes they can be very emotionally draining. At times they can be the source of pain, hurt and upset. There are many people who can feel incredibly lonely despite being in relationships.
So, the big question is, what is the most important thing that impacts relationships? What is the one differentiating factor that creates either happiness or loneliness in relationships?
The answer is clear; it is the quality of conversations that we share with the other person. It is how people feel when they are together… Do they feel heard? Do they feel valued and most importantly do they feel emotionally safe? People often forget what is said, but they always remember how they feel when they are with you.
Here are quick three tips to create better quality conversations. The effort is truly worth it!
Power Tip #1: Listen with an open heart
Most of us believe that we are good listeners, however, this is quite a faulty assumption! Often, we listen not to understand, rather decide how we can prove ourselves right. We need to learn to really listen to what the other person is saying while putting our own agenda aside. Being fully present and giving your undivided attention is the biggest gift we can offer to another person. This is when we open our heart, and truly absorb what is being said. What kind of a listener are you?
Power Tip #2: Do not attack/criticize
Our words have immense power to create a lasting impact, especially in emotionally charged situations. Often, we may mean well, however, we use words that create a totally opposite effect. When people feel attacked or threatened, they tend to close down and get defensive. No real communication is possible from this space. What kind of words do you choose in your conversations? Can you practice compassion even when you are angry? Because this is what decides the level of trust and openness you can enjoy in the relationship.
Power Tip # 3: Practice the pause
If someone does something that makes you angry, you need to tell them about it. But you don’t have to do it right away! When you are upset and hurting, chances are that your words and mannerisms might not support your intention. Often in bursts of anger, we say things we don’t mean, isn’t it? Take a pause. Stronger the hurt, longer the pause that's the mantra. Once you feel calmer and more in control, state your view clearly and respectfully. This kind of self-control is a priceless skill and truly worth developing.
I hope you will be able to use these 3 tips and see the magic happen in your conversations!