Effective Communication is all about assertiveness – rather than aggressiveness or submission
The first step towards becoming an effective communicator is practicing assertiveness, thus knowing how you are actually feeling. Did you know that your feelings are simply that: your feelings and nothing more? Their are neither good nor bad, nor anything else! These are just judgements that others – or even yourself – impose onto your feelings.
Once you are aware of what you are feeling and you don’t get caught up in any judgements about them, you can begin exploring ways to deal with the situation. Assertiveness involves clear, calm thinking and respectful negotiation, where each person is entitled to their opinion. Simply say how you are feeling or seeing things by making “I statements” rather than “you” statements. There is a huge difference between saying: “you are always pushing me too hard” versus “I feel very tired because…”. The first sentence prompts your discussion partner to feel threatened, under attack, maybe even having more power than you. The second sentence simply says how you are feeling in response to something. This leaves the other person room to hear what you are saying without feeling blamed or under attack.
The most important part of effective communication is to be mindful of your own feelings, speech, thoughts as well as of the whole situation. If you are consciously cultivating this approach, you will be able to better resolve potential conflicts and greater harmony will slip itself into your discussions!
- Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Full Catastrophe Living”
- Gregory Kramer: “Insight Dialogue”