Respectful Communication

How Can You Change a Situation Through Communication?

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  – idk

CommunicationHelpsChange-JCJoeRaymondWe are more likely to see the changes we want as we value differences and learn to resolve conflict respectfully. People will resist change if they do not feel understood and valued. Being willing to address and resolve conflict opens the way for personal change and inspiring others to change.

In a previous article, I wrote about Agape Unlimited, where Barbara and Janice were resistant to change. Janice (in charge of finances at the agency) had a structured and task oriented operating style. Barbara (the agency’s co-founder and director) was more nurturing and relationship oriented. She not only wanted to allow clients to continue regardless of non-payment, but also allowed them to violate program rules with few or no consequences. Janice knew that without a strict financial policy, the agency could not survive. Her goal as financial administrator was to keep the agency financially solvent. She felt that her motives were misunderstood. Barbara firmly believed that everyone should have affordable treatment, regardless of his or her ability to pay, and that clients should be happy in their treatment. She felt a lack of support for her goals.

Appreciate another point of view…

As they both came to appreciate and value each other’s different operating styles they were able to work with each other, with other staff members, and with their board. To arrive at this point, they had to use good communication skills – both speaking and listening. Each of them had to communicate her needs clearly and listen to understand what the other’s needs were.

Agape Unlimited now has a financial policy that allows a sliding scale based on income. It provides for temporary suspension for failure to comply with the terms of their financial contract. A grievance procedure for clients and staff members is established for disciplinary matters that arise. All members of the administration, staff and board, have been able to embrace the changes needed for their agency to go forward. Today, Agape Unlimited makes a major impact on the recovery community. The agency is moving into a larger building and adding major programs. It has earned the respect of community members who in the past discounted its value. All of this is possible due to much hard work, and because Barbara and Janice were able to recognize and value their differences.

Each of us lives in a world of our own perceptions based on our memories, experiences, and expectations of who we are and how the world works. We also may have memories about the person with whom we want to communicate, based on your shared experiences. We always have expectations about how a person will react, whether we know them or not.

Learning effective communication skills…

<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-495" src="×137.png" alt="Effectiv Comunication-HCJoeRaymond" width="300" height="137" srcset="×137 original site.png 300w, 450w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />As you learn effective communication skills, you are able to reach out and share your life with others. Most of the time, these others will be quite different from you with their own set of perceptions of themselves and the world.

Communication is the channel through which you effectively share your life with others. As you learn to listen to the thoughts and feelings of people who are important in your life, you will understand their value. As you express yourself clearly and respectfully they will understand your value. Your lives become richer and more meaningful.

Communication is more about people and feelings than it is about mere language. As you begin to understand where the other person is coming from, and speak clearly about where you are coming from, you become more aware of the many similarities and differences in your perceptions. We see how either we can have the same interests or we can have different interests – and either situation is valid.

As we learn to value our differences as much as our similarities, we develop increased respect for one another. We are better able to see a win-win outcome. Win-win is the attitude of seeking mutual benefit. It begins with the commitment to explore all options until you reach a mutually satisfactory solution. You reach a win-win through building high trust relationships.

We’ll continue this discussion on communication in my next article about Conflict Resolution.

This article is an excerpt from my book “Embracing Change From the Inside Out”

If you’re ready to make life changes from the inside out contact me, I will help you understand how to make those changes.

You can also contact me to speak at your next event, I will adjust my topic to the needs of your audience.


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