I see this happen almost every day. Someone says something that makes someone else upset and the result is conflict. Usually a big conflict that rarely stays with just those two people. The sad truth is it could have easily been avoided if each of them would have paid attention to how they said the words.
Goodselfme wrote an article that points out several of the biggest communication issues I see regularly. While these lessons usually happen in the work place, the lessons could also help you and your kids at home. If kids were taught this at school, life at home would have a lot less conflict.
It is not only what you say, but how you say it and when you say it.
Listening is a lost art. When someone is talking, let them finish before you interrupt. It can be hard, especially if the person you are with likes to talk, but it will show that you respect the person. Show interest in what the person is saying. Don’t you always hate it when you are saying something you feel is important and as soon as you are finished someone immediately changes the subject? If you don’t like it happening to you, chances are others won’t like it when you do it to them. How you say it will be addressed below.
Respond with the appropriate number of words.
While sometimes appropriate, one or two word answers usually indicate you are upset or uninterested. Likewise, overly long answers can show that you don’t think the other person can understand what you are saying so you need to explain it in great detail. The other result of overly long answers is that people will just stop asking for your advice.
Your tone of voice can undermine your message.
This is probably the most common issue I see. An important message is being delivered but because of the tone the message is lost. The focus becomes the tone that was used. In my view this is the single most important communication lesson anyone can learn. Clarity is important when delivering a message. You should control the level or volume of your voice so the message is heard.
This may seem obvious, but it happens a lot – at all levels of the organization. In some organizations it has actually become an acceptable culture. To me that is very sad. If you have to resort to profanity to get your point across you need to re-access your communication skills. Often your entire message will be lost as the focus will be on the language you used rather then the message.
What goes around comes around. If you would like loyalty from others, you need to show loyalty to them. It begins with gossip. Don’t do it and if you hear others doing it you should stop them. Refocus there attention on the job, message or task. If you do this you will gain respect and improve productivity.
Let me know what you think of my list and let me know what you would add.