Fulfilling Relationships & Communication

May 17, 2019

Can you believe we are already more than halfway through the month!?  Time just keeps flying and I hope you are making the most of every day!

One of the things that makes our days fulfilling is the quality of our relationships.  Whether that is with family, with friends, with business associates, clients, or team members.  

At the core of every relationship you have is one thing:

Communication.  

When we increase our level of communication, we can significantly impact the quality of our relationships.  Yet, communication is a HUGE category.  So this week I wanted to break it down into 3 very easy steps for you, so you could easily and systematically become a better communicator.

There is a big difference between "knowing" versus "doing".  

So as you review these 3 steps, I want you to be extremely honest in evaluating yourself.  Give yourself a score on a scale of 1 to 10 on the "doing" of these skills.  (Ten being perfect.)  Because as "simple" as these 3 steps are, they are equally as difficult to actually DO consistently.  

The precursor to actually implementing any of these steps is your awareness of what the steps actually are.  Without awareness, we can't change or improve.  So as you give yourself a score, you are raising your awareness on your competence with each step/skill.

Once you are aware, then you can begin to implement the strategies I give you inside each step.  The strategies inside each step are the actual "how to" tips to increasing your competency and raise your skills.

Let's dive in now!

Step 1:  Be Fully Present 😃

If this is the ONLY skill that you focus on, it will exponentially improve your communication.  

Why is this step important?  First and foremost, it's the simplest way to show respect to the other person.  When you aren't fully present, you will not be able to truly listen at a deep level and thus not be able to give your full respect to that person's thoughts and time.

When you "check out" enough with a person, you erode trust and eventually the relationship becomes one of auto-pilot.  And that is a very scary and dangerous status for any relationship, from your spouse, to your kids, to your business partner, to your employees, to your clients.

As you evaluate this step for yourself, ask yourself, how often do I multitask when I am communicating with someone?  Do you find yourself scrolling through social media or reading emails while you're on a business call?  Or when you're at the dinner table with your spouse or kids?  Is your attention divided?  Is your mind wandering to your to-do list?

Or are you truly 100% present?

Here are 3 easy strategies you can do immediately to increase your ability to simply BE PRESENT:

  1. Before a phone call or a meeting, or before walking into your house at the end of the day:
    • Take 3 slow deep breaths and prepare yourself for the interaction you are about to have.  
    • You can also do this at ANY time if you find your mind wandering and distracted.  Just breathe to bring yourself back to the present moment.
  2. Reduce distractions that you have control over.  For example:
    • Leave your cell phone in a different room
    • Turn your phone on do not disturb
    • Close browser windows on your computer
  3. Avoid interrupting their flow when they are talking.
    • When you aren't fully present, it's an easy "default mode" to talk over someone or interrupt them.
    • When you are fully present, you can listen better which reduces interruptions because you are truly focused on what the other person is saying - and that takes more energy on your part!

Which leads us to...

Step 2:  LISTEN 🤐

As you become a better listener, you can significant improve any communication you have and thus improve each relationship you have.  

In business, increasing your listening skills can lead to increased productivity, more influence, and better negotiations.  

In personal relationships, it can assist in reducing conflict and misunderstandings.  And who doesn't want that with their spouse, kids, family members, and friends??

So here are the 3 strategies to PRACTICE daily to improve your listening skills:

  1. Be silent.
    • This is directly tied to not interrupting obviously.
    • Allow the other person the space to share until they are done with their story, thought, or feeling.
  2. Withhold judgement.
    • Don't assume you know what someone is saying or where they are going with their story.
    • Remember that what they are sharing is about them, not about you.  This allows you to listen without getting defensive.
  3. Seek to truly understand.
    • Paraphrase what they just said and ask "Is this what you mean?"
    • Or you can say, "So what I am hearing you say is..." and then summarize what you heard. 

When you truly are listening, it makes the next step super easy and super fun!

Step 3:  Stay Curious 🤓 

Remember when you first met your spouse or partner?  How you couldn't get enough of them?  Every conversation could last forever and into the wee hours of the night... Why?  

Because you found newness and excitement in every interaction.  And because at it's simplest:  you were curious. 

Have you ever been around a little kid?  Where every question began with the word "Why?"  It's the same thing.  There is an inherent curiosity about everything.  How things work.  Why things are the way they are.  Kids are a sponge of learning simply because they have this spark called curiosity.

I believe we all have still that spark inside of us.  

Yet to really get it engaged at the level of a first love or of the mindset of a kid, we have to be intentional.  We must PRACTICE.  We must take that spark and hone it into a roaring flame of curiosity.  Especially when it comes to our relationships!!

Curiosity can deepen your current relationships and help you create better ones in the future.  In your personal life and in business.  The more curious you are, the more the other person feels heard, cared for, and thus liked or loved.  (PS. People like doing business with people they like!)

So here are 3 simple strategies to rekindle that SPARK of curiosity:

  1. In conversations, use the words "I'm curious..."
    • Then ask a question so that the other person can share more details and you can learn new things.
  2. Similarly, you can simply say, "Tell me more about that..."
    • This allows the person to share at a deeper level and you can learn more about them or the situation.
  3. Have a desire to WANT TO KNOW MORE so you can connect on similarities.
    • In a world where there are a lot of difference, I believe we are more alike that we are different.  
    • Be curious enough to find the common ground of connection.

How is that for a "simple" 3-step process for increasing your communication skills and become a ninja in connecting?  ⚡⚡⚡

As you know, I have been live streaming on social media almost every weekday with "The Daily Coaching Show".  The above is a summary of this week's shows and content.  If you want more in depth training on communication, you can see all the replays by CLICKING HERE!

Also this week, I've really focused on creating content that is truly bite-sized and only 10 minutes in length each day on the Live Broadcasts.  

So I'd love to hear from you...  How is that working for you?  Is the length good, too short, or too long?  Are there other topics you'd like to see soon on the live broadcasts?

I am here to support you in your growth, so I'd really like your feedback on how I can do that in an even better way.  Please just email me anytime and share any feedback that come to mind as you think about how you want to grow moving forward in your life and in your business.

OK my friend!  Let's make this Friday the best day ever!  Go connect with someone new today in a meaningful way.  Go connect with someone who is already in your life in an intentional way.  See what happens when you do just one or two of the above strategies!

 And let me know what happens when the other person's mind is just BLOWN!  🤯  I look forward to hearing from you!

I'll talk with you soon!!

With gratitude and love,
Brenda 💛

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Brenda F Reynolds
Founder & Owner
The F Words of Life

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