Use Mindful Communication to Improve Relationships

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” — Mark Twain

Paul Shanks via Flickr

Human connection is communication. Effective communication is required of us in school, work, and family life. We need it to write our ideas, express our wisdom, and maintain and build relationships. In fact, good communication skills are required for nearly every professional career. Transmission of information can be found on the web, through sign language, in the news, and on social networks. How to communicate your argument, analysis, or thoughts genuinely and effectively requires small steps.

Mindful Communication

Mindfulness requires awareness without letting our feelings, thoughts, and ideologies be controlled by the past or future. The present moment is in the here and now, and when we enter a conversation, it should have good intent and purpose. Take a look at some of the questions below:

What common ground do we share?

  • People like to feel that they are connected. By using words like “we,” “our,” “us,” and “ourselves,” we can instantly build an engaging and lasting bond.
  • Reveal as much as possible about yourself. Openness is one of the key strategies I use when speaking to other people. When making new connections, I usually focus on moving and inspirational things I am doing with my life or that I am interested in. Your relationship instantly transforms small talk to a closer shared reality. Regardless of what your boss may say, you might be at work, but developing relationships with people builds a better foundation for any business.

Are we both comfortable speaking to each other?

  • One way of doing this is by showing them appropriate eye contact — looking away briefly at times helps to make it less intense.
  • If you feel like you want to improve your relationship with a person, you can try stating the obvious: “I may not always communicate this, but I really enjoy talking to you, and I think we work well together.” This statement helps to open the door for genuine conversation.

Is the purpose being clearly defined?

  • Are we addressing someone in a way that he or she can understand?  Be patient with the person and yourself that question if you do not have a clear understanding of the conversation the first time you are talking to each other. It may take three or four additional conversations for someone to fully understand where you are “coming from.”

Will our connection be superior after our interaction?

  • Be enthusiastic while speaking to someone. Smile as much as the occasion calls for it. This will make him or her feel special and feel more open to you the next time around. The key here is not to be fake. Smiling naturally relieves tension and stress.

Respectful Communication

Being mindful of the other person’s point of view is necessary even if there is a difference in belief or opinion. If you maintain a bird’s eye view of any situation, you bring yourself “up and out” of a narrow-minded version of your reality. A bird’s eye view is defined as viewing things as the birds do, or if you were to get into a helicopter and travel to work. You would see things you never saw before and likely enjoy the ride!

Ask Smart Questions

Pretend you are facing north and your friend is facing south. You both see something completely different. That’s how most people on the planet see — everyone may see something differently than you do. How do you get them to see your perspective?

If you ask the right questions, that person may be able to understand what you see that they can’t. How can you establish a connection and see what the other person is seeing? You often find the right questions by asking more than one. You could ask, “What do you see?” Or, you could ask more than one question that relies on details in return. “Do you see any clouds? What shape do they take and what size are they? Is the wind moving them? How high are the clouds in relation to the horizon?”

We may fail to ask questions while communicating with others.  Details may be left out, and we may not truly understand the other person’s point of view. We find ourselves assuming that the other person must know what we are seeing or thinking when we haven’t really told them anything at all.

Focus on Skills and Solutions

With the stresses we accumulate every day, it is easy to forget that other people are going through the same things. If we are more sensitive to someone’s feelings, we will create positive impact in the way that others perceive us and how we relate to them.

For example, we may find ourselves focusing on negative things and communicating to others in a negative way. When this happens, the people we talk to may become frustrated and unmotivated. If this is a constant struggle, it creates a hostile environment. However, if we focus on the skills someone has — and how he or she can apply this skill more often — this style of communication is far more appealing than dwelling on a problem. When we are in a negative frame of mind, our perspectives become narrower, ruling out possible solutions. Both people end up focusing on the issue instead of the solution.

Just as bad communication can ruin relationships, positive techniques have the ability to create lasting bonds at home, school, and the workplace.

How do you practice mindful communication in your life? Share your tips and best practices in the comments section below!