For as much time we spend communicating, one would think we’d all be quite proficient, yet how often do you experience misunderstanding and miscommunication as a part of your everyday experience?
It is not our inability to communicate that gets us into binds, but our understanding of clear communication, when another person receives the information you have just communicated in the exact same way you intended it to be received.
Few individuals are taught to clearly communicate what they mean. Instead, we are often taught to compromise, be polite, or say the “right” thing. This is true regardless of age, gender, culture, or background -- if we are not clear in what we want or what we meant to communicate, we find communication to be frustrating or complicated. Yet, communication doesn’t have to be so hard. Like everything, it just takes practice.
Here is a process to help you be more authentic with yourself so you can communicate more clearly with others.
4 Steps Towards Clear Communication
1. Identify what you want.
Most of us are taught to identify with what we don’t want rather than what we do want. The next time you are trying to communicate why you need a more balance in your life, or why you are feeling frustrated, stressed or stuck, fill in the following:
I want __________________________________________________.
The more honest and authentic you are with yourself, the more value you have and the more present you will be able to be in your relationships.
2. Determine why what you want is important to you.
We all have subjective filters that affect how we hear information. We we can communicate what we want and why it is important, we offer a fuller picture and increase the likelihood that our ask is met.
Once you have clearly identified what you want, answer the following:
It is important to me because ________________________________.
3. Be willing to take the risk to be authentic.
There are risks involved in communicating authentically. By saying no, we often risk being thought of as rude or not helpful. By telling someone the truth, we may risk them being upset with us or excluding us from a group.
The truth is, when we compromise ourselves and what we really want just to be nice, or to avoid disagreement, we only sabotage our self-confidence and trust in ourselves. When we are out of alignment with who we are and what we really want, we hurt ourselves.
If you ever doubt how you feel, check in with your body. How do you feel? Where do you feel it? Is there a pit in the bottom of your stomach? Does your head hurt from just thinking about your choices?
No one likes to feel alone or the feeling that they are letting others down, but by not respecting our own boundaries and communicating authentically to others, we further ingrain patterns that lead to frustration and stress.
4. Say it in 10 words or less!
Nothing makes a person tune out more quickly than a run-on sentence.
Practice the art of authentic communication by saying what you really mean. Once you identify what you want, why it is important to you, what you are willing to risk to speak honestly and authentically, practice saying that in 10 words or less. It may take a few tries, but don’t give up. This simple practice can help change the way you think and communicate -- and possibly even rub off on those around you.