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The goal of interpersonal communication is to learn and practice how to respond without causing reactive behaviors, We need to learn how to initiate and sustain connectedness, how to maintain the clear flow of communication and relationship. The following tips are to help us be mindful of the two inter related processes involved in interpersonal communication.
Tips for talking.
Talking is genuinely other-oriented. Do not bring your ego- boosting stuff when the other person talks. Do not interject your own story.
Proving that one is right is counter- productive. It breaks the connection with the other person.
Speak mindfully so as not to arouse anger, fear, shame, humiliation, inferiority or guilt in the other person.
Paraphrase or summarize succinctly what the other person is saying to remain engaged with the other person. This continues the flow of communication.
Incorporate poses into your speech to allow the other person to put his input, to co-create if there is a desire.
Make I statements to express your needs, feelings and thoughts. Such a mode of communication prevents accusatory, blaming, humiliating and faultfinding expressions. Try to avoid using words and body language which are bound to evoke a reactive response.
Tips for listening
Don’t think of a response while listening. The other person senses it and it disrupts the flow of communication.
Be fully present. Maintain consistent eye contact. Do not engage in multiphasic behaviors while you are listening. This is sure way of losing the other person.
Ask open-ended questions to expand or enrich what the other person is saying, or helping him to view the situation from a different perspective. It helps the other person gain insights.
Do not patronize. Do not take a stance of I know it all or I have an answer to what you are going to say.
Do not interrupt. Become a patient listener. Create a space with attentive silence. This way, the other person feels deeply heard.
Let the other person feel that you are a co-traveler in the process of communication. It builds the bridges.
Listening to the person earnestly and compassionately is a way of serving the other person. It meets the need of a human being to be bonded and connected.