The communication goal
The Cambridge Dictionary defines communication as “the process of sharing information, especially when this increases understanding between people or groups”
Our main goal when communicating is to get the right message clearly across to another person or group. There will always be people who we naturally see eye to eye with, and others who are much more challenging for us to connect with. Those that challenge us, give us a chance to grow in areas of communication and connection, but only if we make the choice to always smooth out any dysfunction arising within the communication.
It is important to acknowledge that some people need different approaches to take in each message and understand what is being said, which may be very different to the way we need to be approached. We cannot control what others are thinking or feeling, but we can control how we approach a situation.
Understanding different types of communication techniques alongside having an awareness of our own communication preferences, teaches us how to adapt to situations better and move through challenges within relationships at home and work with less stress/frustration. This is a key emotional area that can negatively affect our wellbeing if found to be continuous and without resolution, and can be easily neglected in our journey of life. You could exercise daily, eat healthily, rest well and creatively express yourself, but if your interconnections with others are disturbed, you are disturbing the natural functions of your body through the excessive stress that comes with carrying continuous emotional turbulence that is never resolved. It makes me stressed just thinking about it!
So, what is the best approach? Here are some tips below:
Communication in relationships
(Picture by Matheus Ferrero)
If you are familiar with the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, you will be aware of the five different ways people feel loved. These five languages are:
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- physical touch
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
The theory states that everybody needs all five to feel loved, but one of these languages can be more meaningful or dominant than the other for us and this will affect the way we receive love. Chapman’s book works to build better communication between romantic partnerships and in turn strengthen the relationship overall.
Take a quiz with or without your partner to find your own love languages: The Five languages of love and consider these languages when conveying an important message or having a challenging conversation with your partner. You may find that just by being aware of their dominant love language you are able to communicate easier, without confusion or misinterpretations.
Buy and read the full book here: Amazon
Communication in the workplace
The communication model below focuses on the theory that what you say, where you say it, when you say it, who says it and to whom you say it too, all determine the outcome.
The Five W’s
(Shared from Health Knowledge UK)
- Who should be told?
Everyone who needs to be told about something should be told. It is advisable to relate the communication to all as soon as possible. Openness is the key to making everyone feel involved (although there will always be some things that are not disseminated as widely as others). Where appropriate, communicate widely so that individuals are given the opportunity to influence the process and local ownership is gained. Barriers can also be identified and overcome.
- When should they be told?
The time to communicate with relevant people should be carefully considered. It might be within a set meeting or a one-off arrangement. If the communication covers a wide range of people where possible it is desirable that discussions take place at the same time to avoid confusion, the spread of rumours or misunderstandings. If internal and external stakeholders are involved, internal staff should be communicated with prior to external stakeholders; this is to prevent staff from hearing from other sources, including the media.
Key communications should be made as soon as possible following a significant event or decision.
- What should they be told?
Clear messages, related to the subject or problem. In complex situations it is advisable to create shared meaning and understanding, this can be done by:
- checking back with the recipients through an iterative process
- let them ask questions
- asking for clarification of what they have understood is clear that words, behaviours and symbols are not misunderstood or misinterpreted
- Where should the message be conveyed?
Choose the most effective medium to get your message across, this could be in meetings, seminars, press releases etc. Make time to communicate properly, do not do it in the corridor, in the toilet or in the car park. This leads to gabbled and garbled messages and can contribute to the ‘grape vine’.
- Who should control the communications process?
The most appropriate person depending on the subject. If it involves external agencies include the Press Officer.
*As a side note on this theory, it is not to say these pointers can or cannot work also within a personal relationship. Trialling these ideas with mindfulness and sensitivity to each situation can always give you your answer!
Talk it out
Talk it out and don’t keep it in. This theory is within many strategies for self-help and care. In western medicine and if you have read “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay, it is suggested that trapped emotions get stuck in our body and can manifest as tumours, health issues and emotional imbalances. So, talk it out to get it out! Talk with friends, family members, colleagues, people you feel you can trust to share your feelings with and most importantly try to approach and talk to those you are having conflict with. It may be uncomfortable to start with but the more you work with the problem, the easier it becomes to take that step towards resolution and freedom from tension in your life!
(Picture by Shaun Rounce)
If you are seeking a more confidential space to share your emotional world, don’t forget there are free helplines available to you, like the Samaritans:
Samaritans: call 116 123
And remember! Nobody is free from conflict; everybody has their own struggles. What we may find easy, others may find hard. My best advice to free yourself from interpersonal communication dilemmas, is to work with this strategy:
- Acknowledge and accept the problem or issue that is needed to be resolved. (Don’t walk around with an elephant in the room!)
- Be conscious and ok with feeling uncomfortable. The other person/persons are surely feeling the same way, so you are not alone. Don’t run away from that feeling as this is your catalyst for positive change and resolution.
- Set a meetup, meeting or time specifically to talk about the problem.
- Create a strategic approach to find a mutual understanding, with the intent to unify the situation using the Five Ws for the workspace or taking into account, if relevant, the five love languages.
- Repeat where needed until you have cleared the air and found mutual ground.
- Have the courage to ask for advice or help where needed from others. It may be a hard choice for some, but opening up to others allows you to take off the weight of the problem from yourself, creating a clear space in the mind for more rational and fluid thoughts, which in turn help us to make better choices.
- Follow through until there is a resolution. Receive a good feeling of peace and a positive sense of achievement. Overall your relationship between the person in question is likely to be stronger or at least less weighted and stressful.
- Introduce this article to others, to spread awareness of how to better communicate with each other.
Would you like to see any of these effective communication-based sessions at BNHC?
- Tea and open talk sessions (online/in the studio)
- Book club sessions (online/in the studio)
- Free flow guided journaling sessions (online/in the studio)
- Creative writing sessions (online/in the studio)
- Cognitive therapy sessions (online/in the studio)
Email us with your preferences here. We love to hear from you!
Crystal Skinner is a yoga teacher and writer. She is Yoga Alliance certified in Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa, Swing/aerial and myofascial release, meditation, pranayama and Kundalini. She is also a qualified NLP practitioner and journalist. She loves cats, eco-friendly focuses and tea in all forms. Full bio and get in touch with Crystal here.
Featured image (top of page): Picture by Jackson David
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