Honing Your Communication Skills, Part 1
- Thursday, April 17, 2003
Most people think their communication skills are just fine. It's easy to progress through life as a relatively happy and productive person with poor communication skills. It's the type of problem that erodes at your quality of life in subtle, indirect ways.
If your appendix becomes infected and starts to swell, you will know in short order. Before long you'll be in the hospital taking care of a problem that has demanded your attention. Unfortunately for many, poor listening and poor communication skills never grab their attention in the same way. They unknowingly endure the consequences of an ailment they never even recognize.
Once you make a commitment to work on your communication skills the results are immediate.
Every relationship you have will improve. It doesn't matter what relationship it is. It may be a relationship with your boss, a relationship with your closest friend, relationships with the other people on your softball team, or maybe a relationship with the eventual love of your life. Every relationship will get better, and then your own enjoyment of life is going to go up. I have to tell you that any person who is a great communicator enjoys life more.
You have the sense of getting more of the really important innermost stuff from inside of you across to other people. You have the sense of their not only receiving it, but understanding it and liking it, and more than that you have the sense of getting clear about your own inside world for yourself.
Your efforts at becoming a better communicator will straighten out the wrinkles of your life. Most wrinkles in life have to do with poor communication. When you aren't very good at communicating with other people, then all kind of difficulties start occurring.
Four things are needed to be a great communicator:
1. You need to be able to access your innermost thoughts and feelings.
Now accessing your innermost thoughts and feelings should be easy, but it's not. It's especially difficult for men, but there are a lot of people for who it's difficult. As I go around the country I talk about the conspiracy that I think has existed in relation to little boys in our culture that has kept them from becoming great communicators.
That conspiracy has to do with our fear that they will become sissies and so, in order to keep them away from their tender feelings that might cause them to cry now and then, we keep them away from all their feelings. We get them to hit balls and to shoot baskets and to throw a football with a spiral and we keep them from all their tender thoughts and feelings. Because they're kept away from all those tender thoughts and feelings they lose contact with those thoughts and feelings. They're not able to access them at some point in their mid-twenties or early thirties when their new wife says to them, "Let's talk about deep things. Let's be intimate with each other." They just don't know how to be intimate because they just can't get hold of what they can share that would be intimate.
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