We all have at least one relationship in life that we could describe as “challenging”
Personal or professional it’s never straight forward. There are times when important words are not being said. Instead there is silence or what can be called only a bare minimum of information exchange. Unsure of a solution we make very little progress and cannot see how and when the situation could be improved. Usually there is a moment when we realize that the problem lies in different personalities or outlook on life but especially in professional circumstances the necessary level of communication must be maintained.
During our courses and workshops we always have an amazing opportunity to discuss various topics with our students. We can share experiences and points of view at the same time gaining insight into our students’ way of thinking. It helps us better understand them and the assertiveness workshop is always very popular for this. We all seem to need this extra boost of confidence in communication that comes with new assertiveness skills.
Such skills are essential when it comes to dealing with challenging relationships. If developed, these helpful tools can transform difficult interaction. It became even more apparent during the one of our recent assertiveness workshops and led to even more interesting findings. As a result of a lively discussion the following have been named as 5 enablers of assertive communication.
Thinking and considering possible ways forward. All serious conversations require preparation if they are to bring about change. Planning and organizing your thoughts beforehand helps you maintain your focus and control emotions during the conversation
- Solution focused
When it comes to challenging relationships the focus goes towards what can be done rather than what can’t and why. Surprisingly many possible options can be discovered when we become solution focused. Personal agendas are less important and the achievable consensus is a number one priority.
- Prioritise subject/topic over emotions
Of course sometimes we all feel hurt, angry, frustrated or upset especially in difficult relationship. But there is time when emotions are put aside in order to make progress. The best way to achieve it is to focus on the subject we’re discussing rather than how we feel about it. Separating the two suddenly makes room for greater clarity and ability to see the topic from a different perspective. That’s exactly how it worked for our students during the assertiveness workshop.
- Common ground/goal/purpose
We can all find at least one thing we have in common with another human being. Even if we know that we will never be particularly close with the person in front of us. Finding common ground brings us at least a step closer to them and helps see each other as somewhat alike. It helps prioritise what’s most important with a greater rather than personal purpose in mind.
Refers to respect in communication as opposed to e.g. a position in a company structure. Equality means that both sides have their say, their rights are regarded and everyone’s voice is heard.
This skill comes back time and time again as a key integral element of effective communication, in order to understand others and be understood. Active listening allows us to be present and open minded. It helps see a bigger picture and show respect towards others involved.
What do you think is important in assertive communication? What enables interaction even when the relationship has not been easy? Have you got your own ways of overcoming challenges in order to reach consensus?
More information about the upcoming personal Effectiveness Courses: Assertiveness, Effective Communication, Time Management
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