When it comes to communication, we are either trying to connect or control.
Connection enriches both parties. It creates a dynamic that is authentic, warm and mutually beneficial.
Control is coercive, insidious, unpleasant, and once we become aware of its tentacles, intolerable. Communication that seeks to control is common and heavy-handed.
Control says, ‘you must agree with my perception or opinion.’ Connection makes space for feedback, discussion and conversation.
It’s valuable to ask ourselves in every conversation, whether at work or in our personal life’s, am I trying to connect to or control this person?
How to connect
Understand a person’s love language. This isn’t just beneficial for romantic relationships, but in all walks of life. Do your colleagues appreciate you making them a cup of tea (an act of service), or do they enjoy a good natter? (words.)
True connection is about considering what you can give, rather than what you can get. If both parties come to the table with something to give, then the arrangement is rewarding and self-sustaining. If both come to take, the table is soon emptied.
Ask questions. We can’t connect without knowledge and acquiring knowledge involves openness and sharing. To feel comfortable to do so, people need an environment of warmth, support and patience. Don’t be invasive or impatient.
Be trustworthy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you have someone’s trust, the connection has a sense of ease and flow. Trust can only be built with consistent action over time.
Be responsive. If someone tells you something about themselves, don’t go mute or be negative or dismissive. React. Show interest. Be kind. All people like to be seen.
Acknowledge a person for their strengths and attributes you admire. We find it surprisingly difficult to compliment others as if doing so takes away from who we are. Actually, it does the opposite. It helps us to be a better, more grateful person. Someone that people want to be around.
Lift someone else up to lift yourself. Don’t be afraid to let the shine on another person’s ideas, suggestions or work. Let them have a platform. You never know what you might learn.
Listen to what people tell you, even if its not what you want to hear. The kernels of truth can be instrumental in improving your relationship with them.
Act. Remember to communicate and to connect, we must be consistent, reliable and steady. We must do. Actions speak louder than words.
Do you want connection, or do you want control? Understanding this will unlock the key to how and why you communicate.