3 simple steps for effective communication

1. Start with some positive, genuine feedback or reflections. For example, if you feel your boss has said something incorrect, and you wish to discuss it, start the conversation by stating some aspects of feedback that you had been given/words of encouragement that you had been given, that you appreciated.

2. Then, move to stating in a respectful way that you wished to discuss an issue. Especially at this stage, use words like ‘this made me uncomfortable’ rather than ‘you’ made me uncomfortable. Use of ‘this’ ‘it’ etc. keeps it less personal. It makes it easier for the other person to listen and be amenable to discussions. Use of personal pronouns like “You” is likely to make the person more defensive. Use of ‘it’, ‘this’ keeps the focus on the issue and not the person.

3. Third, end with explaining your Intent in bringing up this discussion. This clarifies for the other person that you have a vision of making things better/ resolving issues/processing issues, as opposed to making the other feel like you are blaming or criticizing. If you don’t have any thoughts on how to resolve the issue, simply state the truth — that you wish to make things better, but cannot figure out how to do this, and need help. Think about it — blame or criticism without constructive intent is not likely to lead to more positive relationships between you and the other.

A few key points to reflect on here:

This kind of communication is authentic, is driven by conscious intent to better a situation/relation (outcome is not as important as one’s intent when doing this. At a later stage, if the intended outcome does not happen, one can re-evaluate and see if a different approach other than effective communication may be a better fit), and is non-judgmental. Where there is no judgement, there is acceptance/regard, and this naturally facilitates for a enhanced interpersonal environment.

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