“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say” Bryant H. McGill

Communication is the key to having and maintaining “healthy” relationSHIPS. It’s the foundation of ALL our relationSHIPS. Yet, for some reason, our inability to effectively communicate is also the demise of these relationSHIPS. But how can this be? We’ve been stringing words into sentences since we were young, so why the miscommunication? Is it because we are doing more talking instead of listening? Or is our need to be right the culprit that leads to miscommunications? No matter the reason, you can NOT have a successful relationSHIP without effective communications. It’s impossible!!

So, what is effective communication? Communication is an INTERACTION between two people. Each must:: LISTEN to the other person; INTERPRET what is being said, and RESPOND in an understandable way. Listening is the MOST important part of communicating and is very different from hearing, Hearing is a physical ability while listening is a skill. Listening skills allow us to understand what someone is talking about.

Communication is about listening to and understanding another person’s point of view. It’s about seeing something from someone else’s perspective. It’s NOT about agreeing with their perspective, it’s about understanding it. Communication is not about being right or wrong. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s not even about truths or untruths. It’s about understanding.

In reality, only a fool wants to be understood and never understand. Stephen R. Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply” and I agree with this statement, especially for most women. We don’t listen with the intent to understand because we are too busy trying to respond and to be understood instead of understanding. We have to learn how to listen without judgments.

If we want our questions answered then we have to be mature enough to patiently listen to and accept whatever response we are given. Our responsibility is not to prepare a retort or a defense, it’s simply to listen to the story. No matter how difficult or painful the response is. Instead, we’ll ask a question but before they can respond, we interrupt. Which leads to an argument and even more unanswered questions. That’s not effective. That’s not even communicating. That’s listening with judgments.

Even GOD knew the importance of understanding because in Proverbs 4: 7, it is written, “Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.” Wisdom and understanding go hand in hand.

If we practice our communication skills, it will reduce misunderstandings and conflicts and lead to great success within our relationSHIPS. So remember, the key to successfully handling situations and other people is through effective communications. Because good listening skills make us and our relationSHIPS more harmonious and productive.

SHIP TALK: How would you rate your communication skills? Are you a good listener? Do you have the need to be right? What do you need to modify to make you an effective communicator?

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