We tend to spend a lot of time talking. But what are we talking about. Are we clear with what we say? Do we get the messages over that we want to? Are we decisive, do we say what we want to say?
Why is it so hard for people to say what they mean, and mean what they say, sometimes?
Many people never learn how to appropriately say what they mean, and mean what they say.
Consider these seven steps to be a more Authentic Communicator:
- When you want to deliver negative or non-positive feedback, consider your goal. What do you hope to accomplish as an outcome? Do you want the person to be more aware? Do you hope they will change their behavior? Think about your own intention first.
- Ask permission and make sure it is the right time to offer feedback. Let the person know you’d like to share something, but make sure they are open to hearing it. Prepare them for the discussion; “I would like to share some feedback; is now a good time or would there be a better time for you?”
- Be objective and stick to facts in your approach. Try to refrain from using a broad brush.
- Acknowledge your own thoughts and feelings—it’s perfectly fine to have a reaction and to share it. “Truthfully, I don’t even know if what you said was hurtful; it’s just that the tone of voice and the yelling was distressing to me”. Many people don’t know how their behavior impacts someone else. Sometimes if you can point out why it was bothersome, the person gets a chance to do it differently next time.
- Remember, you are not responsible for how another person reacts. If you have something to say but you don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, does that mean that the situation isn’t any less real or legitimate?
- Take the time to think about the other person’s viewpoint. Seek to understand with genuine interest. You can give feedback, but you also can try and see the person’s perspective; “I’m curious about why you seemed so angry at the dinner table? Sometimes inquiring and trying to draw someone out can be more beneficial than trying to teach them something.
- Do your best to remember that most people haven’t learned well how to be open and honest in a non-hurtful, productive manner: It’s not taught in schools. It’s not often learned at home. It’s a fundamental skill that most people lack. Do your best to practice saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.