Do You Have Good Communication Skills?
Why is communication considered a skill? Shouldn’t we know how to talk to one another? I believe the reason it’s been dubbed a skill is that so many of us are so bad at it.
Let’s do some self-analysis. When we’re in conversation with someone are we…
- Actively listening in order to understand
- Listening in order to hear something we can comment on
- Doing 90-100% of the talking and not listening at all?
I think most of us, most of the time, fall into the second or third category and for good reason: We want someone to pay attention to us so we can affirm that we are valuable. Attention is energy; being valuable is how we tend to believe we earn love. This is not to be decried because without energy, without love, we pretty much cease to exist or we feel that way, which essentially is the same thing.
Continually seeking attention and affirmation from others makes us sound like children but that’s not surprising because we’re acting like children. We are all children inside. When our needs aren’t met in childhood we don’t give up on getting them met. We simply (and unconsciously) project those needs onto people in our present-day lives and make them responsible for meeting them.
What appears to be two problems, unmet needs and poor communication skills is really just one weed with a deep old root.
So what do we do? We could try to improve our communication skills but this only would change our behaviour. That’s akin to cutting the weed at the stem in hopes it won’t grow back. It will; the root is still there. A more practical solution would be to explore the motivation behind the behaviour, the root of the issue, by spending time with the feelings surrounding it and coming to understand it. This yanks out the weed, root and all.
That’s liberation. That frees us to become a rare creature – a good listener – and that’s an essential component of good communication.
Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões