Yes, there is an art to communication. Knowing how you communicate will have a huge impact on your relationships with others. Are you a listener, a talker, a critic or a supporter? Do you rely on body language and gestures? Is your focus on tone? Maybe you love words.
From the moment we are born we begin communicating. Parents in a very short amount of time learn to "read" their baby's messages without that child speaking. Body language, cries and other sounds indicate to the parent what that child needs. They tune in.
What if we took that skill and applied it to other relationships in our lives? Often we react to the words someone is speaking without noticing the expression on their face or the tone in their voice. There are so many layers to communicating. This is why, sometimes, the written word can fail us, especially in today's quick delivery of texting and instant messaging. Intent and emotion do not always come through, even when we use those silly smiley faces to soften our words. We all have had times when our message was misinterpreted or had it land harshly which was not our intent.
Knowing how we usually communicate with others and what our style is allows us the opportunity to hone our skills, to explore ways to broaden our communicating abilities and to seek what may not be working for us. Feeling misunderstood by someone in your life? Maybe you need to try a different approach to your communication skills with them.
Do you often hear from others that they feel unheard by you? Maybe it is time to practice new listening skills. Do you say something to someone and are often surprised by the way they react? Perhaps your delivery is off, maybe your body language or tone do not match your words? All opportunities to become better at the art of communication.
For the next few days, pay attention to the feedback you get from various conversations and relationships. Notice if there is a pattern or if there is one particular person that you seem to be misunderstood by. This is a great place to explore new ways of listening or speaking. Perhaps a different form of communication is needed.
Often when my children were in there teens we used notes to share our thoughts with each other. It kept the spoken drama and high emotions out of the equation, for the most part, so that we felt heard and could make our point. It was very empowering for my children and less stress provoking for us parents. Both sides felt heard.
When my children were much younger and their vocabulary was limited I would sometimes have them act out the way the were feeling when they were distressed. They were able to, in a very creative way, share with me their fears or their worries in a much deeper way through body language and facial expression.
When I was tending to my ailing parents and my father lost his ability to speak I would have him squeeze my hand to show me how bad his pain was. A soft squeeze meant not too bad a firmer grip indicated more.
These are all powerful ways of communicating and are very effective. Being willing to explore the art of communication will only benefit you and your relationships. It broadens and deepens the connection. We need to be invested in our communication with others, to be willing to be fully present, attentive to the message, willing to deepen the conversation and flexible in our delivery. Become a master at the art of communication.