The people we have the hardest time communicating with are those closest to us and we all wonder from time to time how to build communication skills that are effective. You would think closest relationships, spouse, siblings, children and coworkers would be the easiest to communicate with because of the level of familiarity. But the old cliché about familiarity breeds contempt is evident in how our communication skills end up working out with those we feel the most comfortable with. In one part, it is because the familiarity we have with them creates an informal bond where people are less inclined to be on their best behavior, and another part of it is that our closest relationships are the playing ground we use to work out past issues.
Communication skills are what can help keep our closest relationships close though. The first thing to think about is if you are talking more kindly to strangers than you are to your spouse and children, there is a big problem. These are the people that deserve our best and also need us to lead by example. Keeping our best behavior with them will reflect back to us by them returning their best behavior back.
Communication Skills to Get What You Want
The most important communication skills to remember are to focus on yourself and what you want. If you focus on the problem and what you don’t want, and blame the other person, there is going to be anger and defenses and how could you expect different? For example, if your spouse is always late it is probably not going to work really well if you say “You make us late every time, what is wrong with you?” and then go into a rant about the problem of being late. Instead, try saying “I want for us to be on time, what works best for you to make sure we are prompt?” This allows them the opportunity to talk about what would help them be on time.
Communication Skills Need Follow Through
Do what you say you will do, when you said you would do it. Amazing at how simple, yet ridiculously underrated that statement is. When you use good communication skills, you can say anything you need to say in a way that is non-threatening and non-blaming. In the example above if you use polite communication skills and say “If you are running late I will leave without you”, then you must follow through with that or you will let the other person know that what you say is not what you will do. That will erode trust and will not help your efforts in being able to be on time.
Communication Skills Focus on Solutions
The best communication skills require you to stay positive. See if you can go for 42 hours without a single complaint. Instead, every time you see a problem, state what you want instead using a communication skill called and “I statement. This communication skill means that you talk about yourself. “I want to be on time” – not “I want YOU to be on time”.
Using these communication skills will work for any relationship. You may want something the other person does not want and that is okay. That is where negotiation communication skills to work out a solution you are both comfortable with. Remember to negotiate calmly and stay focused on results, not on what is not working. You will be amazed at how effective this will be.