Posts Tagged ‘communication’

How Does Your Message Land? 

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November 4th, 2022 >> Communication

How Does Your Message Land? 

Are you aware of how your communication lands when speaking with someone? As we strengthen our emotional intelligence, we gain insight into how we impact those around us.  It’s not uncommon to speak with good intentions and realize that the receiving party has become uncomfortable, so much so that they are defensive. 

Reflecting on how a conversation might have escalated when you felt misunderstood is a great way to break your unhelpful communication pattern. When we take the time to explore contributing factors that escalated into an argument, we can learn about ourselves and make the necessary changes. Is it what we said? Perhaps it’s our tone. Maybe it’s our delivery. 

Considering the efforts we make to engage in productive sensitive conversations, having an undesired outcome can be puzzling. The following are 6 helpful strategies when having sensitive conversations:

  1. Avoid using absolute words such as “always” and “never.” We don’t want to attack and put the receiver in a defensive mode.
  2. Use “I-statements” and point out the specific behavior that bothers you, such as, “I feel nervous when you don’t come home on time.” If you label or generalize instead of stating a specific behavior, it will not land properly. Which would we prefer to hear: “When you’re lazy,” or, “When you don’t call me”?
  3. State what you want. For example, “I would like for you to call me if you’re running late.”
  4. Avoid addressing other issues. Focus on one situation at a time. It’s easy to open the flood gates and try to deal with so many of the issues rather than the one at hand. This will only dilute the importance of what we’re addressing, and the result will be that we won’t be heard. 
  5. Share why the request is important to you. This step makes it easier for the listener to understand our preference and the reasons for it. 
  6. Be sure you come from a caring stance and not an accusatory place. The above mentioned strategies will only work if we are coming from the perspective of, “You are important to me, and I’d like to make this work.”

If you’re unsure how your message lands, check in with the receiving party with, “What did you hear me say?” or “I’m curious how that sounded to you.” They may even share with us which word or phrase we used that triggered them. 

The communication chapter can be found within the Anger Management Essentials workbook, 2nd edition. https://amzn.to/3kXHyZy

Anita Avedian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (License # LMFT 38403) and has been practicing psychotherapy since 1996. Anita is the Executive Director of both Avedian Counseling Center and Anger Management 818, a boutique group practice servicing the Greater Los Angeles area. Her specialties include working with relationships, anger, social anxiety, general anxiety, and addictions. She also has been certified in Thought Field Therapy(TFT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), both of which she integrates into her practice. Anita offers a monthly anger management certification program to counselors. Anger Management Essentials is an approved National Anger Management Association (NAMA) model that is used for anger management certification. 

Mindful Talking

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October 6th, 2021 >> Mindfulness

By: Destiny Johnson

Have you ever spoken to someone, and kept getting interrupted? Trying to get a word in at times can be quite challenging in conversations when mindful talking isn’t used. This happens from time to time when speaking with acquaintances, family, and friends. It can also take place in the workplace with colleagues and clients. 

Many of us have heard of active listening but what about the art of mindful talking when engaging in dialogues with people. What is mindful talking or speaking?  It is one’s ability to speak to others with awareness, active listening, and focus. Mindful talking is knowing what, when, and how to use tone to engage with someone. Mindful communication involves listening, tone, nonverbal cues, paying attention, and connecting to others. 

Speaking mindfully is a great skill to incorporate into any conversation. Mindful speaking encourages emotional intelligence. Imagine speaking and not being allowed the space and respect to respond. Or not having the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions. It would be like you were trapped in a one-sided conversation. Do you think you would feel heard? Do you think the other person who is not receiving mindful talking would feel heard?

If there is no space to share and respond it cannot be a dialogue. If this type of communication continues it can become incredibly annoying and frustrating. Ultimately, the lack of care, consideration, kindness, empathy, and attention to the other person when having dialogue will eventually drain the relationship and decrease communication.

Here are some tips to increase Mindful Talking in conversations:

Consider Time

Realize how much time and space you take up while speaking. If you have an hour to dialogue with someone, how much of that time is spent with you talking versus them. How you listened to what is being share verbally and non-verbally? Ask yourself does this need to be said, have I listened enough before responding

Use Silence and Pauses

Make sure you take pauses; it will allow the listener to process what’s being shared. Not everyone processes the same way. For example, introverts tend to process inward using thought while many extraverts process outwardly using speech. Both are valid but pause to allow for communication to flow. The use of silence can also allow you to be intentional with words and consider how much talking has taken place versus how much listening

Probe and Seek Clarity

Ask questions to better understand before speaking. Ask questions to gain perspective from others. Many times during conversations messages can get lost, contributing to lack of understanding and miscommunication. Seek to understand instead of talking. When you listen intently it will help you know what to say 

Here and Now

Be present and in tune to the moment happening in front of you. Many people get lost in thoughts of yesterday (the past) or tomorrow (the future) that we forget about the present moment. This can occur when talking. Try to focus on what is tangible in the conversation and connect with the persons words and feelings. Use breathing to bring you back to the conversation if your mind begins to wonder while talking to someone. Focus on your breath and what they are saying. 

Awareness

Check in with yourself and your surroundings. Identify how the person you’re talking to is doing. You can pick up on cues that indicate if the listener is checking out and vice versa if you have lost your focus. Checking in with yourself, can be done by quietly recognizing what is happening internally or around you. Are you following the conversation? Is the person distracted? Have they disconnected? Are you not responding to questions because you have zoned out? 

To build awareness and focus you can use open posture. Posture your body toward the listener with arms uncrossed, lean in physically to the conversation, and provide eye contact. This will help you stay alert and welcome dialogue. It is important to limit distractions and refocus your thoughts to the speaker. Use verbal encouragers like yes, uh huh and ask questions to understand and connect. 

Showing curiosity can strengthen dialogue and unfold an engaging conversation. Begin practicing intentional and mindful speech because it is important to feel heard. Try out some of these tips and see if your conversations and connections can be deepened.


Destiny Johnson is a career counselor and certified anger management counselor with Avedian Counseling Center.

What is Social Anxiety and Should You Join a Support Group

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February 10th, 2015 >> Social Anxiety and Shyness

 

What is Social Anxiety and Should You Join a Support Group?

Social Anxiety is a psychiatric disorder. It is the third most common psychiatric illness in the U.S. right below depression and alcoholism.  It affects millions of Americans and can be a debilitating and life altering condition that can prevent us from going out, experiencing social situations, having fun, strengthening our self-confidence and being our best selves.

Sufferers of severe anxiety will dread the thought of meeting strangers or expressing their opinions especially if they disagree with the status quo. People with social anxiety contemplate negative thoughts in anticipation of their pubic interactions. One of the main contributors to social anxiety is low self-esteem. It is the feeling that we’re not good enough to be heard or to have our opinions valued. While anxiety can get in the way of our life it can also be arrested and prevented as long as we’re willing to do the work and make some changes to our everyday behaviors. Sufferers of social anxiety tend to focus on the negative, such as being judged, focusing on our imperfections, what people won’t like about us and a lack of interesting discussion topics, rather than focusing on all of the fascinating accomplishments we’ve made and our interesting opinions.

 

Reasons for joining a social anxiety support group:

Support groups aren’t for everybody. Many autodidacts and independent people will be averse to joining a support group in the belief that they can overcome their problems on their own. And while that may be true for some people it is not true for everyone. We are unique individuals with secular needs and no two approaches to life are meant to be the same.

One excellent reason for joining a support group is because one of the better ways to working through an anxiety is to face it, and learn to deal with the discomfort. For social anxiety, that would mean to put yourself in a situation involving others. The group is a safe environment since you will be surrounded with others who experience the same worries and fears, and who are there to work through their struggles as well. One of the reasons why overcoming social anxiety is difficult is because one typically avoids social situations in order to not feel the anxiety. In a support group, you will have the opportunity to work through your anxiety in a supportive atmosphere.  Are you ready to stop feeling so isolated?  Come connect with others, and take a step toward overcoming your own social anxiety. In a therapeutic setting, you are able to practice the skills and techniques suggested by the therapist to help you deal with social anxiety.

 

What are some strategies for change?

 

  1. Identify situations you fear and avoid so that you could select appropriate exposure practices.
  2. Identify the extent to which you are fearful of the physical feelings that you experience when anxious. This will help determine whether you should practice exposure.
  3. Assessing which social skills need improvement; assertiveness, public speaking, dating, or general communication.
  4. Approaches to treatment such as, TFT, EFT, and/or Cognitive-Behavioral.
  5. Medications/ holistic approaches.