Life is not just about your IQ. Your emotional quotient (EQ)—ability to understand and relate to people—is equally critical to your success. The ability to effectively communicate is evidence of a high EQ. I teach my clients if it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying well...the first time!
Janine is one of my clients. She is smart, beautiful and ambitious with a heart of gold. Her loyalty is boundless. Unfortunately, she is frequently moving from one communication crisis to another. Repeatedly, it seems we are working our way through hurt feelings or trying to fix a breach that poor communication has created.
Like her, most of us struggle in this area. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to communicating, we spend too much time focusing on what we want to receive, rather than what we need to sow. We want to be understood, when we need to give understanding. We want to be heard, when what we need to do is shut up and listen!
The instructions of one of my favorite scriptures, James 1:19, sums up what we need to do to create a healthier inner-life and experience greater connection personally and professionally. Before I share them, I want to emphasize that we need to “be” them, not just practice them. Our behaviors can’t simply be strategies; we must embrace a new mindset that will produce lasting change:
1. We must be Quick to Listen: Speaking without listening damages our relationships on many levels. It makes others feel as if we are not interested in what they have to say. This leads to frustration in our interactions that can degenerate into a deep-rooted lack of trust. When we take time to hear others’ words and hearts, they feel valued. It lays the framework for bonds of trust and security that forge the healthy relationships we all need.
2. We must be Slow to Speak: Words can be forgiven, but they are very rarely forgotten. Communication is cheapened when we make hurtful or insensitive comments that distract from the original goal and intent of the conversation. Regardless of how well we know someone, relationships stop growing when we lose curiosity. Emotions can seem overwhelming, but practice the art of speaking well.
Before you speak, make sure the words will best convey your heart. Too often we talk too much, because we are trying to out talk what our hearts are telling us.
3. We must be Slow to Anger: Sometimes anger gets a bad rap. There are moments when anger is the proper response to a situation. But we often fall into anger because we don’t want to deal with the primary emotion of hurt that precedes it. Being angry seems easier because it makes the other person the issue and provides a distraction that keeps us from working on ourselves. Put the brakes on anger by questioning it. Sometimes we may have to walk away from a situation or conversation, in order to keep our cool and gain the full perspective.
Do Your Work: Choose an area of focus and purposely practice better communication in your conversations this week. Be intentional about listening and asking questions, without jumping to conclusions. Our relationships are the fabric of our lives. Let’s make life better by making them stronger.
Define Your Wealth: “I’m committed to strengthening my relationships through healthy communications that empower me to love and value others!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to "Turn their Worth into Wealth" as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.