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Say What?

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Say What?

Tips for effective communication.
Daneen  Skube
Daneen Skube More by this author
Jan 24, 2010 at 09:00 AM

Since imperfect human beings raise us, we all come through childhood with vulnerabilities. For instance in your tribe, every time your father disapproved of you, he may have raised an eyebrow and become quiet. In your adult life, if anyone raises an eyebrow and becomes quiet, you may assume they disapprove of you without even asking them. Certain words, behaviors, and even tones of voice can be buried like landmines, waiting for unsuspecting feet to set off an explosion. If you consider the complexity of all these triggers interacting, it’s amazing that anyone ever communicates effectively. The good news, once you see this dynamic, is that you can stop taking the behavior of other people personally. Two steps will assist you in not blowing up in your work or home connections.

  1. Ask about others’ motives rather than assuming you know.
    Example: “Heather, when you raised your eyebrow in the meeting this morning and became quiet, I assumed you didn’t like my proposal. Is that what you were thinking, or was something else going on?”
  2. When you see people reacting strongly to you, ask questions to find out what they might be assuming about your behavior.
    Example: “Jodie, when I asked you about the meeting yesterday, you almost gagged on your doughnut. What were you thinking?”

Since you now know how to avoid the emotional landmines buried in conversations, you’ll be able to create specific formulas that will work wizardry in your unique circumstances, in order to get what you want.

About Author
Daneen  Skube
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., the director of Interpersonal Edge, has worked in the field of business consulting, counseling, and speaking for more than 27 years. Her company specializes in helping individuals and companies achieve peak performance through st Continue reading