6 Ways to Communicate for Connection
Have you ever rolled your eyes after receiving a text? A text that the sender intended to elicit assistance or sympathy. After receiving what I considered to be a rather melodramatic text recently (and rolling the above mentioned eyes), I paused to consider what the TRUE intention of the message was suppose to be. Was the message suppose to CONTROL my feelings by implying guilt or shame on my part? Or was it meant to provide a way to CONNECT in a meaningful way?
It all comes down to intention.
Many people communicate in such way that ensures that they get a desired result. An approach to manipulate and control another in order to get their desired outcome can include righteousness, information withholding, aggressiveness and even shaming. The list goes on.
Do you seek to control or connect?
All to often, when communicating, we may not realize that we are even using such an approach. As humans, we are seeking (typically) to build or improve respectful, trusting relationships. Controlling actions ultimately will not produce the results we desire.
Six ways to ensure your communication allows you to connect with others.
- Intention First things first. Check with yourself and determine what is your intention. Everything else hinges on this awareness. Do you want to control myself or another person? Or, do I want to deeply connect? Only by consciously coming from a place of your choosing, can you truly embrace connect as a way of living.
- Share To genuinely connect with others, you must be willing to share what you are thinking and feeling. This can be very scary for some as it feels incredibly vulnerable. However, sharing what is going on with you will help the other person in the conversation be more open to sharing as well. Sharing without over-sharing or ‘dumping’, creates connection and understanding of each other.
- Open Your Heart Improving any relationship means listening. And listen deeply. Meaning, listen from a receptive place. An inner space that allows for better understanding of often subtler levels of meaning and intention in the other person. Ask questions to assist you in understanding their valuable perspective. Follow with your heart-felt thanks for their sharing (remember it can be scary – see above).
- Empathize Empathy is understanding someone else’s experience so much that you can imagine having their experience yourself. It is the foundation for kindness and understanding. It helps us in relationships to understand the needs, experiences, and feelings of the other person. Whether you empathize emotionally or cognitively, the challenge is to understand the rationality behind the feelings, words, and actions. Respectfully ask questions to improve your understanding and thereby, your empathy.
- Caring Telling someone how much you value them goes a long way. And showing that care, even better. Simple acts of kindness and love are the ones we so easily overlook in everyday life. Yet they speak volumes to others.
- Review Expectations Oh expectations! We all have them. And many that that generally remain hidden to ourselves and others. It is important to clarify our expectations and ensure that we are understood and our needs met. Now that you are clear about your expectations, be sure to ask the other person what their expectations are as well.
Connection Requires Communication
In order to get the deep connection we yearn for, we must communicate. And truly communicating requires transparency and a willingness to be vulnerable. Embrace that vulnerability while respecting boundaries leads to huge growth. And the deep connections with others that improves our understanding of our place in the Universe.
I encourage you to ask this question in your Inner Affirmation journaling when considering a conversation you may consider challenging.