In this episode:
If your communication gets all jumbled up, then this episode is a practical resource for you. Seven tips for how we can experience repurposed communication by being intentional and focused with conversations.
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Highlights from episode
In this short episode, I give 7 tips for how we can experience repurposed communication.
- Repeat. Make sure we understand what someone else said.
- Assess emotions. Check your own emotions to see they are affecting what you say and hear.
- Put down your phone. Give the conversation your full attention. When we give communication our full focus, it means our words are more thoughtful, our focus is clearer, and we demonstrate how much we value people.
- Say what you mean.
- Assume the best.
- Practice listening. Let go of the habit of working on your reply while the other person is speaking.
- If you aren’t sure, ask questions to provide clarity. Keep the tone kind and not condescending.
When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation poorly and suffer the consequences; or apply the lessons and strategies of Crucial Conversations and improve relationships and results.
Whether they take place at work or at home, with your coworkers or your spouse, Crucial Conversations have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of a Crucial Conversation again.
3) Social Awareness
4) Relationship Management
Episode Sponsor: Classic Marriage Book
Is your marriage ready for the long haul? In a marriage there will be hours of maintenance work tinkering, breakdowns, meltdowns, blow ups, cute photo UPS wear and tear overhauls, memories, vacation celebrations, and repairs. There will be moments where you haul yourself back to the garage for work. Like a trusty old truck. A classic marriage isn't perfect, but who can put a price tag on it. In this book, you'll find inspiration, honesty and self-deprecating humor from the front seat of adventure with Michelle and Phil. Tips to get under the hood and keep your marriage on the road to a long future. Tune-up questions in every chapter to work on your communication tools to cool overheated emotions and repair broken hearts. You can find more at Classicmarriagebook.com and find out how to get your copy of Classic Marriage: Staying in Love as Your Odometer Climbs and the downloadable discussion questions that you can do together.
If your communication gets all jumbled up—and whose doesn't?—then this episode called Scrambled Eggspressions and Purposeful Conversations is a practical resource for you. As I think about life repurposed, I think of all the conversations I'd like to be able to go back and undo or redo, we can't do that. So all we can do is learn how to better communicate. By learning from our mistakes, we can be learners together. I'll give you seven tips for how to improve your communication. They're not rocket science, but things that we can all be reminded of. I'll give you a couple of resources. And then I'll give you a little preview of what's coming next week and a guest interview. So as we go into this episode, this is a short and practical one on how we can better communicate with each other.
You're listening to Life, Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host, Michelle Rayburn.
Perhaps you've had conversations similar to ones that my husband Phil and I have had, where we think we're on the same page as one another, but we're talking about two completely different things. Or maybe the chats with friends, where they ask you a question that you just answered, or they miss one word that changes the meaning altogether. There are times when the tone is off, or the intent gets lost. And when that happens, it's easy for feathers to become ruffled and unhelpful responses to come tumbling out of our mouths. Communication is something we do together. So if I were to believe everyone else has the problem and not me, then I'm definitely delusional. As I think about life repurposed, I think about all the conversations I'd like to be able to go back and undo or redo. And since I can't do that, I want to think about how I can learn to be a better communicator by learning from my mistakes. Today, I want to share with you seven tips for how we can experience repurposed communication. These are not ones that are all that unusual—common sense kind of things. But sometimes a little bit of a review is the best way that we can check our own communication. So I'll run through these seven, and then I'll give you a couple of resources.
First: repeat. When you think you've heard someone say something that gave you pause, ask them to repeat it. Sometimes that's as simple as just asking, "Did I just hear you say...?" And then you repeat what you think you heard them say. Or saying something like, "Could you say that again, just so I make sure I'm clear on that?" I'm amazed at how often I miss a key piece of information, when I'm also reading fast. So it's not just in the verbal communication, I will notice communication problems that can be solved by just making sure we understand what someone else said. It might be I missed something. So repeating means I go back and read it again, just like asking someone to say it again, I read the entire thing again, and see if there's anything I missed. And I'll tell you what, there's always something I missed. So repeating whether it's in verbal communication or written communication, either we ask the other person to repeat, or we go ahead and repeat it by reading it again.
The second one is assess emotions. It's important to check your own emotions to see if they're affecting what you hear. If you're the one communicating, this is also the time to reflect on whether emotions got in the way of how you delivered the words. So we always want to be checking, "Are my emotions getting in the way of how I receive this? Or are my emotions getting in the way of how I deliver this?" Assessing that and knowing where we're at affects so many things that affects maybe saying something that we would just skip altogether. Or maybe we say it in a snarky way, something like that. So it's important to know those emotions.
Okay, number three: pause. Now this is gonna work for written communication, but mostly in the verbal communication, the face to face kind of communication. When we pause, it means we do things like put down our phone; we stop what we're doing. We give the conversation our full attention. So this happens to my husband and me. We're on our phones. We definitely don't hear everything the other person said when we're texting or scrolling. So it's really important to put it down. In fact, I like to encourage us when my husband and I are good indicating, to put it facedown. So we can't even see if a text message or anything comes in. If we're trying to read our emails when we're running on the treadmill, or out for a walk, or listening to a seminar while we're reading our emails, even in that written communication, we might get distracted because we're doing something else. So the pause is important there too. Now, when we give our communication our full focus, it means our words are more thoughtful; our focus is clear. And we demonstrate how much we value people. That means I'm giving my full attention to this response that I need to do for somebody or to that face to face verbal conversation. And sometimes that means just looking the person in the eye so that they know we're really listening. Alright, so we've gone through three.
Now we're on number four: say what you mean. My husband and I talk often about how hinting at something is not the same as saying it directly or asking somebody to do something. Here's an example. We have a teenager living in our home for a few months right now. So when my husband says to him, "When you get a chance, would you mind doing the dishes?" it's not the same as if he were to say, "I'd like you to finish the dishes before you watch TV." We hint so often, we don't always say what we mean. Sometimes we even make something sound optional when we really mean we want somebody to do that thing. So when we say what we mean, it helps the other person to be able to filter through and not have to try to figure out did they mean it that way? Or was this optional? Or are their feelings hurt, and they're trying to tell me that? So if we all commit to saying what we mean, then other people don't have tried to guess at what we mean.
Number five: assume the best. What would happen if we always assumed the other person had no malice toward us. If we already assumed someone is angry with us, then even the smallest request could actually be irritating. Or if we assume that this person is, I don't know, trying to manipulate us. Or if we assume that they are thinking something they're not thinking, let's just always assume the best. Even if it turns out that it was the worst, I have a feeling most of the time we assume the worst, when really the other person had nothing against us, it would really help most of my communication. If I would assume the best, before I read something, or before I listen to something. So that's always a good practice for us to have. We often write the story in our head. And it's not the story the other person's thinking at all.
All right, number six: practice listening. Now, this already goes along with some of the other things that we've talked about. But with this one, let's specifically let go of the habit of working on our reply while the other person is still speaking. So rather than trying to figure out what we're going to say, listening, and then letting that little silence happen there, having a pause,nand then coming up with that reply. I really struggle with this one. Because I'm always thinking like, "Oh, as soon as they finish talking, I have to remember to tell them this thing." So it's really important to focus on the listening. This happens for me in written communication as well. Because sometimes I'm already thinking about what I'm going to type in my reply, or what thing I have to do. So practicing listening is really important.
Okay, here's the last one. This is number seven: reflect. If you aren't sure what the other person has said, ask questions to provide clarity. Now, this is not the same as saying, "Could you repeat that? Although, it's kind of similar. Because we might say "Do I hear you saying...?" And then we repeat it in a different way. But it's also taking it a step further asking more questions so that we gather more information than just what they said. When you're the one communicating, it's helpful to stop also to ask if they need you to clarify anything you just said. That gives the other person the ability to say, "Yeah, actually, I do need you to clarify something." And then it's also helpful if someone has expressed something to you to ask if they feel understood and valued in the response you gave them. So you might have a conversation about something; they've expressed maybe a concern to you, and you've done some responding. And if you ask if they feel understood and valued, then it kind of puts it back in their court where that person can say, "Well, actually, I don't know if I feel as if you really understood what I'm saying." So then you can continue to work on it. And this is hard to receive sometimes, but it's really important in that communication. And then we also want to keep the tone kind and not condescending. Because sometimes if we say—I do this to my husband—sometimes I catch myself doing it where I'll ask a question like "Do you understand?" but I don't really. I'm saying it in a different way. Not just genuinely want to know, "Was that clear to you?" but it's more like, "You'd better understand!" There's this implied tone there. So that's reflecting that's keeping the tone kind and not condescending, and how we continue to make sure that we're all seen and we're all heard, and everybody has been able to express themselves clearly.
Okay, so that was seven of them. Now, of the seven, I want you to think about which is the most difficult for you, and I'll give you just a really quick summary here so you know what they were again. As you listen to this list, think about which one of these is the most difficult for you: (1) repeating before you respond; (2) assessing emotions; (3) pausing to be focused; (4) saying what you mean; (5) assuming the best; (6) listening; (7) reflectin., I encourage you to choose one of those to be aware of this week in your communication, and I hope you have fewer scrambled "eggspressions" as a result. I'll be right back with a resource for you.
This episode is sponsored by classicmarriagebook.com. Is your marriage ready for the long haul? In a marriage there will be hours of maintenance work tinkering, breakdowns, meltdowns, blow-ups, cute photo ups, wear and tear, overhauls, memories, vacations, celebrations, and repairs. There will be moments where you haul yourself back to the garage for work. Like a trusty old truck, a classic marriage isn't perfect, but who can put a price tag on it? In this book, you'll find inspiration, honesty and self deprecating humor from the front seat of adventure with Michelle and Phil. Tips to get under the hood and keep your marriage on the road to a long future. Tune-up questions in every chapter to work on your communication, tools to cool overheated emotions and repair broken hearts. You can find more at ClassicMarriageBook.com. and find out how to get your copy of Classoc Marriage: Staying in Love as Your Odometer Climbs and the downloadable discussion questions that you can do together.
I want to give you two resources today. I think that I've mentioned both of them before. In fact, I know for sure I've mentioned one of them before, but they're really relevant for this topic. So I want to recommend them again.
One is the book Crucial Conversations. This one has been updated recently, it's in version three. The book provides skills to ensure every conversation, especially the difficult ones, leads to the results you want. When the stakes are high, and opinions vary and emotions run strong, you have three choices: You can avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences. You can handle the conversation poorly and suffer the consequences. Or you can apply the lessons and strategies of this book to improve relationships and results. I read this book a few years back and really found it helpful. And it helps me with thinking through some of the emotions that go into the conversation. Thinking through some of the emotions that go into the conversations that I have, and how in the past, I really struggled with having some of the more difficult ones. And I'm learning how to have those in a really calm way, and in a productive way and in a way that makes other people not feel attacked. I just find this a really helpful resource. Whether the conversations take place at work or at home with your co workers, your spouse, the crucial conversations you have have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills that you learn in the book, Crucial Conversations, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of those conversations again. Okay, well, maybe you'll have to worry about them sometimes. But you're going to learn some skills that are really valuable. So I will link to that book in the show notes for you to grab that crucial conversations tools for talking when the stakes are high. And that's the third edition.
The other resource that I want to share with you is a book called Emotional intelligence 2.0. This is a book that gives step by step program for increasing your EQ, which is your emotional intelligence quotient instead of IQ. And it talks about the skills that you need to reach your fullest potential. Now with this one, it talks about self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. And then there's a code in there for you to do your own EQ assessment to see where you are. Now this relates to communication really well, because the more you're aware of your own emotions, and the more you're aware of your own responses, your communication changes and improves. People who have a really low emotional intelligence, often have really difficult conversations, they don't know how to express themselves. They attack other people, they don't have productive communication. They don't take criticism well—all of those things. So the more we can improve that, you know, sometimes people are just born with more emotional intelligence, but you can improve it with some skills. The more we improve that the more our conversations are less scrambled, and we're able to have productive conversations.
Now, if you can imagine what the world would be like if we all learned how to communicate better, in a kinder way and in a way that helps other people feel understood. I hope this has been a helpful episode for you, as we think about how we communicate. Now next week, I'm going to be talking with author Bonnie Gray about her incredible story. And you don't want to miss it. I'm just amazed at her story of resilience and how God has repurposed her life. So definitely tune in to listen to that one next time. I hope you have a great week. I hope your communication goes fantastic this week.
You've been listening to Life Repurposed with Michelle Rayburn. Check out tips, resources and inspiration at MichelleRayburn.com and to get the show notes for this episode. Each week I share links to everything mentioned in the episode, graphics you can share, and guest quotes. I also invite you to join the Life Repurposed Facebook community for weekly conversation with others on the journey of discovering the repurposed life. Before you go. Which friend needs to hear this episode? Share a link with a note to invite them to listen.
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