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A Better Way to Communicate

Point to Ponder:

Do you let emotion impact or direct your communication?

Waayyy back in January (seems like eons ago, doesn’t it) in our Weekly News, we shared a link to our blog featuring 19 ways we believe 2019 can be a happy year. Throughout the course of 2019 we’ll eventually roll out all of our recommendations, but for the sake of today, we’re focusing on #5, which is: to Communicate More. Why? Because communication (in all areas) prevents chaos and disaster.

I am confident consistent and open lines of communication in relationships and all areas of our lives are necessary. Regular and clear communication prevents assumptions and allows us to focus on the facts. Within iGnite, we have 19 company fundamentals and the one that addresses communication is #6: SPEAK STRAIGHT-Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Make clear and direct requests. Address issues directly with those who are involved and/or affected with a tone of care and respect.

For some of us, speaking straight is a cinch, while our tone is our opportunity for growth. For example, my sister Shonna has NO problem speaking straight. While she doesn’t seek conflict, she doesn’t have a problem with it. However, because she is so direct when speaking straight, her delivery can often feel harsh, cold and biting. While she’s typically spot on with communicating what is on her mind, her tone can cause the receiver to be defensive. Ultimately, her delivery can make the situation feel uncomfortable and the outcome is not as productive as it could’ve been.

Then, there’s me. I am always in consideration of feelings. I never want to hurt a feeling, deflate confidence or come across ungrateful or negative..and I do not enjoy conflict. Over time I have learned that conflict, or having a difference in opinion and/or having an uncomfortable conversation, is normal and part of being an adult, but unlike my sister who can be direct to a fault, I can be too sensitive to feelings, to a fault. Rather than speak straight, my tendency is to tip-toe around the topic and maybe in ten minutes I’ll get to the point. The outcome is not as productive as it could have been.

So, who are you? A Shonna or a Neissa? Here’s what’s super cool! Neither approach is wrong, but both can benefit from the Accountable Communication formula I learned and use from my coach, Martha Lynn Mangum, and some of our Austin Team Leaders and members recently learned after attending a Momentum Consulting Leadership Summit. The simplicity of this formula for any situation will blow your mind and if used correctly will allow you to speak straight with facts, keep emotions out, and get the result you are looking for. In other words, conflict is avoided, feelings do not get hurt, no one gets defensive and the outcome is productive. It’s amazing! The steps are:

1. Declare Your Commitment (to that person and the situation): For me, I like to declare my commitment and gratitude to that person. In your own words, let the person know your commitment to them.

Ex: “Sue, I want you to know I am grateful for our car-pool arrangement and I am committed to continuing to make it work for both of us.

2. State the Facts (keep feelings out, stick with the facts, avoid using words like “I feel”):

Ex: The fact is I am driving the children more than we originally agreed.

3. Share the Impact

Ex: The impact is affecting my ability to be on time to my other commitments.

4. Request a Solution

Ex: The solution I'm requesting is we resume our original carpool plan or tweak it so it will work for both of us. *Always give the other person an opportunity to counter request.

When communicating something difficult or simply needing to communicate a specific request, acknowledgement, appreciation, facts, and no emotions are the golden ticket. Typically everything can be resolved when emotions are kept out and facts are delivered…and chaos, conflict and disaster can all be avoided! YAY!!!


Action Item

When needing to speak straight, use the Accountable Communication steps and get conflict-free results.

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