Sometimes it feels almost impossible to get your family, friends, or significant other to listen to your feelings and meet your needs. Here are three More2Life hacks, inspired by my book, God Help Me, These People Are Driving Me Nuts! that will help you effectively communicate your needs and start living a happier, healthier life!
1. Don’t Bury the Lede–When writers don’t start with the juiciest parts of the story, it’s called “Burying the lede.” Often, in our attempt to either be polite or give people all the facts, we talk around things rather than stating our needs and feelings up front, then we get offended when people’s attention wanders or they miss the point. When communicating, state your need or feeling up front. For instance, “I’d really like to get some time together, when are you available this week?” or “I was really frustrated with the way thus and such turned out. Let’s talk about how to do that better next time.” If you really want people to listen, don’t start with “Once upon a time” and get to your point around chapter three. Start with your point. Let any additional context come out in the conversation.
2. End With A Plan–When you talk with someone about your needs or solving a problem, don’t ever end the conversation without clear follow-up points. Too often, we feel like venting is the same thing as problem solving. Clients tell me all the time, “we talked about that problem a lot.” But when I say, “Great, and what did you decide to do about it.” I’m met with stunned silence. When people say, “I talked to him about that.” What they usually mean is, “I complained about that.” Complaining isn’t communicating, venting isn’t problem-solving. If a problem or need is important enough to talk about, don’t leave the conversation without know who is going to follow up with what, and when you are are going to check in with each other about it. If you want to feel listened to, always end with a plan.
For more tips and tricks on how to improve your communication and relationships, tune in to More2Life, Monday-Friday 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.