When it comes to communicating around a difficult situation or personal challenge I find the following piece of wisdom most helpful:
“He who seeks good finds goodwill (favour)” Proverbs 11:29
Attitude is everything. When we approach a difficult communication situation with the attitude that we are “seeking good” – to understand the other, to communicate with respect, to take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, to find a good way forward for both parties – we will find “goodwill” or favour.
Here are 7 simple principals and strategies that expand on this one key idea:
- Seek to understand the other.
- Ask open questions – can you tell me what’s going on for you?
- Listen, re-state (what you’ve heard, is it what was intended), respond
- Use “I” language – don’t blame the other, take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts and behaviours – when X happened, I felt Y, I would prefer Z – can we talk about this
- Stay open but guard your heart if the other is unable to take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts and behaviours
- Remember we are all a work in progress – we all carry within us a world and history that is complex, layered and unseen but we share similar fears, desires and needs
- Treat each other with respect – the way you yourself would like to be treated.
The ‘golden rule’ (seek good; treat each other with respect) never goes out of fashion.