Being heard correctly is a skill. Strong verbal communication skills are present in all great relationships. When people feel they have said the wrong thing, it was likely how they said it that caused the problem – not the topic itself. Effective communication is never present when someone is speaking in anger. Learn how to convey an idea in a way that does not hurt feelings, trigger defensiveness or cause a person to counter-attack you.
At least half the time, good verbal skills require a keen interest in listening. It’s so important to know how to let your partner see that you care enough to hear them and ask questions. Most of us think that good verbal communication is learning how to be understood. It is just as important for a person to learn how to understand. Try to be an attentive listener.
If you have something important to say, and you fear you might forget key points or perhaps be interrupted, it is sometimes helpful to put your thoughts and feelings on a page. You have the freedom to send, hand-deliver or read aloud your written communication. Having thoughts on a page also helps the receiver by giving him or her time to ponder what’s been written, and perhaps read it again and again. Take time to write what you really mean to say, and remember that the written word might be read over and over again. Written communication can often be the better way to express your thoughts, whether it is a lengthy explanation, a hand-written apology, or a tender “I love you.” Take extra care with texting; it has proven itself to be an effective way of being completely misunderstood.
An argument occurs when two ideas are being delivered, simultaneously, between two people, with no one listening. Conflict resolution is most easily reached when one idea is explored at a time. Listening and trying to comprehend another person’s point of view does not necessarily mean you are in agreement. It just means that you are courteous and open-minded. A person shows respect for their spouse when they listen. After the first idea has been delivered and understood, a second point of view deserves the same respect. Conflict resolution is achieved with good listening and summarization, asking appropriate questions in order to learn more about the point being discussed, and a belief that the other person has the same right to be heard as you do. Explore one person’s idea at a time and you will find you not only have good conversation; you also have strong communication.