How does one develop a healthy relationship? I was recently pondering this with a friend just the other day. I explained how I believe the most important thing in strong relationships is communication. Regardless of the relationship—coworkers, siblings, friends, spouses, parents—communication is key!
If you are like me, you might find relief in knowing that communication is a learned skill. This skill is now one that I strive to be better at every day and in every aspect of my life. As the conversation continued, I began to tell my friend the ingredients I use to better my communication.
The first ingredient is being able to give the benefit of good intentions. In doing this you set a more accepting foundation and do not preface your interactions with a negative mindset. The next ingredient I mentioned was a person’s tone of voice. This one I must admit has always been my weakest link. It isn’t that I am necessarily angry when I talk but after continuous feedback and self-reflection I’ve recognized I do get louder as I speak and that can sometimes be misunderstood. I always say I am just being passionate. However, I now understand that there is an acute difference in being loud and being passionate. I also told my friend that 55% of all communication is nonverbal. I recently became aware of what my eyes sometimes do while I am listening to others which has helped me to be more conscious of what my face could be telling people as we communicate. And lastly, (I think it’s the most important), is that by being a better listener I can take time to think about my response more clearly before responding. This also prevents me from interrupting others while they are trying to express their thoughts and opinions.
It wasn’t until after the conversation when I had a second to reflect, that I realized I learned all those ingredients from my Full Potential Coach. While some of us are more self-aware than others, an outside perspective like a career coach can help you uncover your areas for improvement. Before I started working with my coach, I was not aware of how to reflect in the moment and recognize when my tone changed or the nonverbal signals I may be giving others with my eyes. I can honestly say that I now have more knowledge, self-awareness, communication skills, better relationships, and courage to have difficult conversations because of coaching.
Take a moment and ask yourself this. Have you left a conversation feeling like things were still unclear, feeling unheard or feeling uneasy about something you heard? Well, if you answered yes to any of these, then I’d encourage you to seek out a sounding board like a coach. Someone who will help you see the things you may not be seeing yourself. The smallest truth might make a world of difference and make your relationships stronger.
About the Author
Lindsey Williams is a government services manager who is passionate about building relationships with her team and those she serves through self-reflection and giving the benefit of good intentions.