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Communication Skills

How often do you hear couples complaining about having a ‘communication problem’ with their partners as if it is not able to be fixed. Well it can be fixed with a bit of practice.

I like the saying “God gave us two ears and one mouth – to be used in that proportion”. Think about it, a great communicator is a great listener.

Good listening puts your own concerns on hold temporarily and encourages your partner to be the leader. Your goal is understanding – without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing, blaming or defending or posing a solution.

The following are the more common Obstacles to Effective Listening:

PREOCCUPATION WITH SELF
• Focusing on own performance in the interaction. Also involves rehearsing what we are going to say.

PREOCCUPATION WITH EXTERNAL ISSUES
• Getting involved with own thoughts rather than listening.

SHARPENING
• One or two incidental aspects of the message become highlighted.

ASSIMILATION
• Tendency to reconstruct messages so they reflect your own attitudes, prejudices, needs and values.

FRIEND OR FOE FACTOR
• Message is distorted because of our attitude to another person.

HEARING WHAT’S EXPECTED
• Rather than what the speaker is really saying.

THE LAW OF LEAST EFFORT
• Listening to messages that require little effort and avoiding those that require some energy.

INTERRUPTING
• Listening stops when interrupting starts.

Most of us are guilty of one or more of the above obstacles. Becoming aware of them enables one to fine tune listening skills.

There is a Couples Communication Program called the ‘Talking and Listening Together Program’, developed in the University of Minnesota Family Study Centre. The program is regarded as one of the most effective communication skills programs yet developed. It provides an easy way of enhancing skills in talking, listening, resolving conflicts and choosing communication styles.

Although designed for couples the program also helps in everyday communication.

Reduce misunderstandings – enroll in an effective communication program with Chris and his team.