Communicate

Happy Tuesday! 
This month, I had the honor of being a guest coach for another group that is coached by a lady I met in a mastermind I was in a few months back. She asked me to coach on communication as it pertains to every situation, not only in relationships. I thought today, I’d share some of those nuggets with you! 

Ever wonder why so many fights start over Facebook? Aside from the fact that everyone seems to be a keyboard warrior, people all have differing opinions because we are complicated individuals with complicated emotions and experiences. It’s also because communication is made up of 58% body language, 35% tone of voice and only 7% words used. That means that 93% of the communication we receive over social media, text message or through a blog post can easily be misconstrued due to not seeing the person’s body language or hearing their tone. 

Here are 5 quick communication tips for improving all relationships! 

1. Positive Sentiment Override. 
      Stable relationships have a 5:1 positive to negative comment ratio in them. The old addage that “those who are appreciated will always do more than is expected” absolutely applies in business, parenting and in marriage. If you aren’t appreciated by your boss, do you want to do more for your job? If your kids are always being asked to do things for you without a thank you, do they want to help more? What about your spouse? Do you want to do for them when you feel like they’re negative and coming down on you all the time? Check yourself first. How can you offer more positive comments to those in your circle? 

2. Listen! 
     You were given 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. Use accordingly. 

3. Soft Startups. 
     We need to talk, You always, You never. Think of communication like a gate. Using these phrases immediately closes the gate and builds a wall behind it. Instead, try saying something like “Hey, when you’re in the headspace to discuss finances (this morning’s meeting, your grades) let me know.” This gives the person you’re needing to speak with a heads up and allows them to meet their basic needs so they can show up to the conversation more fully, prepared and ready to be present and calm. 

4. “I notice and I’m wondering…” 
     This is an emotionally healthy technique to starting a conversation around something someone has done that you’re irritated with. For example, your child or your spouse leaves their clothes on the bathroom floor…again. You’ve only had this conversation about 300,000 times. So rather than losing your sh*t…again, try starting with “I notice that your clothes are on the bathroom floor and I’m wondering if you remember the conversation we’ve had regarding this.” This is not only a soft startup, it’s friendly reminder, provided that you aren’t using a condescending tone. “I notice that you haven’t finished your part of our project yet and I’m wondering if you need help or if you want to have a lunch meeting to discuss some ideas.” A very polite way of saying, Hey…get on it, pal! 

5. Basic Needs! 
     You have to meet your basic needs of food, water and sleep before you can politely and rationally engage in a serious conversation. Think of it like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target. They’re probably tired or hungry. They aren’t trying to be a brat on purpose. You’re not much different and neither are the people you’re engaging with. If your boss is hungry and you throw a major decision their way or a fire they need to put out without warning, they’re probably going to respond a little more aggressively than they would normally. Same with your spouse if you throw a budget question at them as soon as they walk in from a long day at work. Meet your basic needs, ask if they’re in the headspace and then engage. 

Hopefully this helps and if you’d like even more communication tools you can start implimenting immediately to connect with your partner, sign up for my FREE 3 day challenge starting TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 7 at 6PM CST! This is only through Zoom and exclusive to only those who sign up! You’ll get an email reminder of when we’re going live and an email of the replay afterwards! Can’t wait to see you there!  

XOXO, 

Kameran 

How Clear Is Your Communication?

Every person has a fight style and a communication style. 

But what happens when the two combine? When you’re upset with your partner, how do you communicate? 

In many of the couples I work with, when an argument ensues, one of the parties will brush their wants and needs under the rug. Your partner comes in and asks “What’s wrong?” You answer with a harsh “nothing.” Your words (7% of your communication) say nothing. But your tone and body language (93% of your communication) say “something BIG”. 

Understand a few things here. 
1. Your partner is not you, they do not think, feel, communicate or operate the way you do.
2. Your partner is not a mind reader. Without clear, concise communication, your partner will not understand what you want them to. 
3. Your feelings, thoughts, irritations, triggers, etc are your responsibility. Communication is imperative to living a happy, fulfilled life with your partner. 

So let’s go back to our scenario. If you are upset with your partner, it’s your responsibility to let them know why you’re upset. If you are communicating “nothing” then their reaction is going to reflect that nothing is wrong and this is something you are working through on your own. The problem becomes deeper and a solution is never found. Additionally, this is a toxic behavior that is started when we begin dating as teenagers and we take this behavior with us through each relationship until we eventually recognize it for what it is and let it go for a more mature response. On a deeper level, we are hoping that our partner recognizes their own wrongdoing without us having to communicate it but that only leads to more disappointment when that hope is lost. 

So what’s the most effective way to communicate? 

Most wrongdoings between partners are simply because of mindlessness, not malice. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (antidote) instead of assuming the worst (poison). 

Communicate a clear message that covers both the surface and the deeper levels. “I am upset because you said you would…. and you didn’t. I feel that you didn’t keep your word and I am disappointed because that lessened the character I believe you to have and left me feeling abandoned.” 

Sounds like a bunch of psychobabble BS, right? Ok follow me here. A simple 2-3 sentence message like this is powerful to the nth degree. Here’s why. 

  • I statements (I am..I feel…) take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blame, shame or guilt of the other party. It keeps the gate of communication open instead of saying “You didn’t keep your word” which then triggers defensiveness. 
  • You’re not sweeping your feelings under the rug. You’re validating yourself, your feelings and your equal partnership in this relationship. 
  • You’re hitting the underlying problem (abandonment and lessened character) which could be a repeated problem in your relationship. 
  • Simply stating facts avoids whining (defensiveness) or using contempt (communicating that you’re superior to your partner).
  • Saying “I’m upset that you said you would (a behavior), lessened the character I believe you to have (behavior), you’re complaining about the behavior, not criticizing the overall character of your partner. This avoids later problems and is more easily accepted than criticism. 
  • By shortening the message, it’s easier for your partner to hear, understand and stay focused than having a long, drawn out explanation. This hits high points, details and communicates needs. Everyone wins. 
  • A statement like this is less likely to escalate the conversation which avoids more hurt and promotes a healing, solution oriented environment instead. 

This message leaves an opening for your partner to now reply with a calmer, more productive feedback of “I’m sorry for leaving you abandoned and not keeping my word. In the future, I will…” 

I understand that toxic patterns of behavior are difficult to break but in an ideal relationship, communication and arguments are handled calmly, rationally and a lot less heated. If you’re trying to uplevel your relationship, this is the framework you’re ultimately working toward. It eliminates the 4 deadly horsemen of the apocalypse as well as gas-lighting which are all high indicators of divorce. 

I can tell you from experience in changing this exact behavior in myself, the latter, more effective communication technique produces much more satisfying results in the short and the long run.

I hope this helps your relationships and helps everyone move forward in a healthier manner.