Professional counselors will tell you that one of the most important relationship skills they teach is active listening. Often people get into trouble in their relationships because they have not developed their ability to listen and communicate. However, one can learn to step out of reactivity and listen deeply and lovingly. This is a great gift to self and to family and friends.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are some good reasons why many people are less-than-effective communicators. These are the most common reasons:
• Lack of skill; not knowing how
• Not taking the time to think through what one wants to say
• Not taking the time to anticipate what another person might be thinking and feeling
• Fear of revealing too much of oneself
• Being afraid of another person’s anger
• Not wanting to hurt another person’s feelings
Four Key Listening Skills
Listening skills are the building blocks of effective communication. These skills enable you to demonstrate that you are interested in what the other person has to say, as well as hearing and understanding the other person. Four key listening skills are open-ended questions, summary statements, reflective statements, and neutral questions and phrases. They are easy to learn with a little practice.
Open-ended questions begin with what, why, how do, or tell me.
Yeah. Unfortunately, it is a real thing. People are scared, confused, outraged, and very divided. Regardless of which party or candidate you support anxiety is up for everyone. Before the debate last night I found myself thinking, "What are they going to say? Will it upset me? Will it separate me even more from those I know who feel differently about the issues and candidates than I? Why can't we dialogue about this in a sensible manner? Oh yuck. I don't like this." I am guessing I was not alone in my thoughts and feelings. So, to address this anxiety, I am posting a blog on coping with political anxiety posted by another Emotionally Focused Therapist. Click here as it is worth a read. It is called "The Antidote to Political Yuck." I hope it helps to provide some coping strategies during this stressful time.
Evelyn Schmechtig Cochran