Communication Mistakes and Solutions



Communication Mistakes

1) You talk too much! When you talk about something that is sensitive, personal and difficult, you may talk around the subject, not being specific, trying to be polite, hoping the other person will somehow pick up the meaning.

Plan what you need to say, then choose the simplest way of saying it. The fewer words you use to open a conversation and explain the problem as you see it, the safer you will be. However, you may talk so much that the person you are speaking with is unable to figure out what you are getting at. You only succeed in adding confusion to an already difficult conversation. You know when things aren’t going well. You may by accident, say something exaggerated or accusing, which causes the other person to take a defensive posture.

2) You think you know everything! When you feel strongly about something you are usually convinced that you have got all the facts at your fingertips and that you know exactly what is going on. You are also quite sure that you know who is right and who is wrong! So you go into a conversation primarily to get the other person to agree with you. You unconsciously say to yourself: If I can just get him/her to see, or: If they will just do. Then they will see I’m right.” So the more the other person resists, perhaps because they are trying to offer their own viewpoint, the harder you push to get your way. However, you rarely, if ever, know all the facts in a complex conversation, and you cannot always be right! You must go into difficult conversations about complex issues prepared to listen, and prepared to consider the viewpoint of the other person.

3) You blame everyone except yourself! It is tempting to see every problem as the fault of someone else. If they would perform to the agreed to your standards, if they would just stick to the rules, if they would do what they promised; then there would not be a problem. The fact is that if you are part of the situation, you are in some way also part of the problem. You need to remember that you may be as much part of the problem as anyone else.

4) You go straight to action! It is tempting to offer an immediate solution to the problem in a difficult conversation, so you can end it quickly. Avoid this temptation! Slow down. You need to hear all sides of the story, and the other person needs to know that their opinions and feelings have been heard. If you push too quickly for your own solution it is likely that others will not be committed to the outcome. You will think you have solved the problem only to find that nothing changes and you are back to square one after the conversation.

Below are some other useful tips:

– Remember it’s not about you – it’s about them. Heal your wounds. Remind yourself that you do many things well, that you are an imperfect human and allowed to make mistakes. You will never be superior or inferior, you will always be an equal member of humanity. This internal talk can help take some of the misery out of the experience.

– Don’t let others get to you. Refuse to get overly responsive to the negative feelings and provocations of others.

– Don’t be self-focused. If you do focus on yourself, you’ll likely dwell on your shortcomings. Instead, think about your goals and what steps you need to get there.

– Stop the negative self-talk. Counter self-defeating self-talk with truth talk: “You can be your own worst enemy, so give yourself a break.”

– Don’t worry about looking stupid. If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, you can simply say, “I need to think about that and get back to you later.”

– Learn to be patient. Don’t be impulsive or react to a situation without giving yourself time to cool off. Try simple deep breathing or declare time out.

– Don’t be quick to blame. Recognize that other people have their ups and downs.

– Think about others. Enter social interactions with this thought of making the experience itself enjoyable. Ask yourself, “What can I do to feel more comfortable?”

Tin Can Phone image via Shutterstock .

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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