Home' Nova National : March 2011 Contents before you start speaking
❤ establish eye contact
❤ ask for confirmation that you've been
❤ approach every exchange in the same
way, not one way for requests, one for
criticism and one for general news
❤ minimise the "chatter" when you have
nothing special to say as people tend to
tune out if you talk incessantly
❤ don't try to be too subtle as hidden or
double meanings can easily get lost
❤ always communicate with love even
if you're angry as verbal attacks simply
put people on their guard or cause
them to reciprocate with like emotion
There are some basic requirements for
effective communication that will help us
achieve the desirable and important aim
of being heard.
Three of the most valuable are:
Self esteem: Without a strong sense of
self worth, you will never be able to find
your own voice, let alone ensure people
listen to it. Know that you have a right
to speak up, that what you have to say is
valid and then speak without fear.
Empowerment: If you wait till someone
asks for your opinion or allows you time
to be listened to, it might never happen.
So hold your own power and ask for
these things, feel confident enough to
offer your views.
Boundaries: Have clear and firm limits
that you are sure of and have outlined to
others. Saying no is difficult but vital at
times; not taking on issues and problems
that rightly belong to someone else;
letting your family know you have
individual needs that also merit priority.
© NOVA MARCH 2011
Communication is a two-way
street. So the listener is just
as active a participant as the
speaker. We often forget this
and come to believe that as long we're
talking, we're getting our point across and
the listener automatically understands us.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Poor communication is the single most
common factor in relationship breakdown
and learning to communicate effectively,
not just talk, is a vital skill in getting
along with others, people we live with,
work with, are related to, are friends with
or meet on the street.
Further complicating the process
is that, in the moment it takes for an
utterance to leave a speaker's mouth and
enter the listener 's hearing, it is already
translated into the listener 's code and
that's why so much misunderstanding
occurs between people. For example, you
might ask a simple question which sounds
like an attack, pay a compliment and be
accused of fawning, make a comment
and have it totally changed around in
the mind of the listener. All this happens
in seconds and is mostly unconscious.
The best illustration of this process is the
child's game of Chinese Whispers where a
chain of people repeats the same phrase
or word over and over, but the last person
will finish up with something completely
different. This is a fault of listening, not
So, how do we help the people we
love to listen better and, by doing that,
improve our chances of being heard and
❤ be a better listener yourself and always
speak clear and concisely
❤ make sure you have someone's attention
Expect to be heard and you will
be, says relationships counsellor
Dr Charmaine Saunders.
Karen AnTara --
helping to make
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