So last time we spoke about the importance of being a good listener. If you missed it check it out here.
Another super-important communication skill is being a good sender (of the message you want to convey). Just like listening, this is not a skill we’re born with but one we need to cultivate.
There are two very important things to remember as the sender:
- Don’t blame
- Own Your Sh*t
Basically blaming is easy but super detrimental in the communication process.
How much better would it be if everything unpleasant was someone else’s fault and we didn’t have to take responsibility for anything? It would be like being a baby all over again.
But…the chances are, if you’re reading my blog, you’re an adult and other adults usually respond to blame with defensiveness. Not a good start to your communication.
If you want to get the most from your conversation or request or whatever the message may be, you have to take responsibility for your side of things.
That means using ‘I messages’, speaking from your perspective and not in absolute truths and not having an agenda of making the other person see that you’re right.
‘I’ messages go like this:
“I found that ….”
“From my perspective…..”
“I feel like this about that”
At no point are you saying that your opinion, perspective, reactions are the correct ones – just that what it seems like to you.
In using ‘I’ messages you are also following golden rule #2: owning your sh*t.
When you tell someone that you feel like this because of something they did or said you are making them responsible for your reactions.
Guess what that’s likely to get? More defensiveness and probably a good bit of arguing about why they’re not responsible.
When you own that your reactions are based on your own experience and your interpretation of events (owning your shit) you leave the door open for further communication and greater understanding.
Obviously this is a crash course in ‘I’ messages and I do encourage to find out more if you’re interested.
Even if you’re not, try this for a few days. Try to own everything you say and make everything an ‘I’ message. See if it makes any difference to your conversations.