So when was the last time you had the experience of attempting to talk with someone and feeling that they just were not listening! You know, the feeling of disconnect. Perhaps it was obvious their thoughts are else where, or their replies just didn’t relate to what you said. Maybe you just sense it despite their apparent attention. Whatever way it happened it didn’t feel so good, did it?
Maybe it was you disconnecting. I know I did it just the other day. I was driving along, having a conversation when I needed to pay more attention to the road; as a consequence the conversation lost my attention completely. ‘Sorry ‘ I said, ‘I had to concentrate on the road’ ‘That’s Ok’ they said, ‘I understand’. Or as often happens when I arrive home, worn out, unable to provide much attention to the requests then made of me. ‘Sorry’ I said, ‘right now is not a good time I need to rest a moment’.
Disconnection in conversations is part of life. Something we need to embrace as a part of reality. If we don’t we are likely to feel a lot of pain from a sense of rejection. Perhaps forgetting we do it too. Whatever reason disconnection occurs it prevents satisfying conversations and effective communication.
The thing is that today, Facebook and phones, computer games and TV shows, not to mention movies, are adding to reasons we are taken away from the important task of conversing. The natural occurrences of disconnection are escalating, possibly out of control. The result. Well, increased feelings of isolation, rejection and loneliness. These not only feel terrible, they also have a detrimental affect on our relationships, as well our physical and psychological health.
So how about we turn the tide? Increase connection, have better conversations and enhance our relationships and heath as a consequence. Here are six fairly easy steps we can all take.
- Set aside time for conversations.
Put aside all distractions and potential distraction for the time. There is very limited truth to the idea of multitasking. You can only fully focus on and give proper attention to one thing at a time. Respectful communication requires proper attention.
- Smile and use gentle eye contact.
A genuine smile with gentle eye contact supports the provision of a safe space inviting your conversation partner to partake. Oh and I do mean a genuine smile. You know the ones that come from inside and light up your eyes.
- Give your conversation partner your full attention.
Focus on being present, in the here and now and being really with them. This empowers your ability to partake in Respectful Conversation. Providing full attention intentionally and regularly helps overcome the times you are disconnected due to natural moments of distraction.
- Listen deeply.
So what are they saying? And not just their words listen to their tone and observe their actions as well. What are they saying at these levels? Remember it is best to enquiry and clarify, than assume you have heard them accurately. After all we interpret their message and could get it wrong.
- Respond to what they say, appropriately.
Respond from your heart, not your head. All too often we spend time thinking of what to say rather than listening deeply and responding respectfully. Thinking about what you are going to say, when they are speaking, draws attention away from them undermining your ability to truly hear them. Then take the time to consider the kindness of our reply.
Did I mention the importance of relaxing into the moment and enjoying the conversation, the genuine connection with another? Really this is the first and the last point. Every moment in between will be so much more effective and valuable if you remember to relax and enjoy the incredible time you are connecting and sharing with another.
Here’s to turning the tide and increasing more daily connection with others in conversations. It will definitely enhance your communications, relationships and life satisfaction.
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