I have spoken a lot about the importance of healthy communication in many of my blog entries. But what the hell does that mean?
Essentially it can mean something very different to everyone… Frustrating, isn’t it? But it’s true, we all have different ways of communicating and expressing ourselves. I have even started to write a book about it…
How to get men to talk
How men and women can communicate
Even if I love to write, I am not sure if I have it in me to actually write a book (as I have full 15 pages so far, perhaps it will at least be a leaflet – we will see).
People who know me personally know that I really love to talk and I will be the first to admit that no everything coming out of my mouth is gold. But I do have a huge amount of empathy and I am genuinely interested in people – which is a great help in my work as a Leadership / Life Coach and iEQ9 Enneagram Practitioner.
I like things to be simple so I would like to give a short guideline or some ‘rules’ if you like, for a healthy way to communicate. I must state that I did not come up with these but I would like to give you my short and simple interpretation of them. I am talking about the 4 ‘M’s’
Message – what is said
Matter – does it matter
Method – how is the message delivered
Moment – is it the right moment
Let’s begin with the Message: ever so often we get caught up in what we want to say. We sort of know what it is but have no real idea how to verbalise it. So why not either write it down first or even say it out loud – no worries, talking to yourself is alright als long as you don’t expect a reply. Start worrying though when you start hearing replies – several times.
This brings us to the second ‘M’, Matter. This may actually be the most important one. We are more often than not, stuck in our heads. So when you know what the message is to be then it is great to dive in a bit deeper and check the facts. Is your message of real relevance? How much of what you want to say is happening in the real world and how much is just taking place in your own head. When you have sorted that out and have found that it does matter (does it really, perhaps check again to be sure), then proceed to the next ‘M’.
Method: how a message is delivered has a great influence on the outcome of a conversation. It can be the difference between a constructive conversation or an enormous fight (or anything in between). You most likely know the person you want to talk to and finding the right approach is key. Some people need the full monty, honest and even brutal and others might need some more sugar coating. We usually know quite well how we can trigger people we know well but we should avoid abusing this knowledge to manipulate someone. At the end of the day, whether sugar coated or not, being honest and fair is usually the best way to go.
Only one ‘M’ to go now, the Moment. Timing is everything! I know how hard it is to hold back when you feel you have a pressing matter you want to desperately talk about. But really consider the options. If you say it in the absolute wrong moment it may all be in vain. Is there ever a perfect moment? No, hardly ever! There are really bad moments though and you should try to avoid those – for example when your partner comes home from work after a really bad day and is in a foul spirit. Chances of a fight are very high. On the other hand, when you find that good (or at least better) moment, you may actually be able to resolve your issue.
I know this all may be nothing new, it may not be fancy or even innovative, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of a possible approach to communicating in a constructive and healthy way…