Have you ever been frustrated in your communication with someone? Have you wondered what would be the most effective way to reach them?
The first key to effective communication is a willingness to consider the other person’s point of view. This takes a willingness to humble yourself not in the sense of humiliation but in the sense of being willing to consider their viewpoint.
Even if you disagree with them, at least make an attempt to understand why that particular point of view is important to them. There many benefits of a commitment to understand. Here are three.
3 Benefits of a Commitment to Understand
- A willingness to understand is one of the quickest ways to diffuse an argument and to earn trust.
- A willingness to understand is a way to open yourself up to learn and grow and expand your world view. Even if you don’t agree, you expand your understanding of the way the other person thinks.
- A willingness to understand is a way to connect with another person. Again,even when you don’t agree with each other, there is a connection which takes place when the other person feels heard.
One of the worse things we do is to ignore each other. In the bank the other day, I heard one of the tellers share how upset she was that someone had called and accused her of not paying her utility bill. “I’m so conscientious about paying my bills! It frustrated me.” A couple of tellers looked at her and turned away. No one took the time to understand or acknowledge her frustration.
As I stood there at the counter, I said, “That must of been frustrating for you.” She turned to me and shared the whole story which only took about two minutes. I listened with empathy. Her frustration acknowledged, she seemed relieved and went about her business. Every time I go into the bank now, she gives me a big smile.
One of the best gifts we can give to each other is to listen and understand. For more tips on how to listen with an intent to understand, read 7 Tips to Effective Listening and Talking Together.
“Good understanding wins favor.” Proverbs 13:15 (NIV)