“When trauma comes, we can learn from it, heal from it, and move through it.”
–Dr. James Gordon
Listen, Pause, Clarify and Validate
Our ability to communicate effectively is one of the most precious skills we can develop. Most of the time, when we think of communicating well, we think of effectively expressing ourselves. This is certainly important, but listening is the single most important of all communication skills. It’s what Stephen Covey calls “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
First and foremost, we must actively listen to what someone is saying. Perhaps we were given two ears and one mouth because we were supposed to listen twice as much as we speak. Look at the person who is speaking. Listen with your whole body and your whole mind. Resist the temptation to think about your response. People will appreciate your respectful listening.
This is a great habit to develop. When the speaker is finished, pause for a few seconds before responding. This guarantees that the other person has really finished talking, and there is no danger of cutting them off. By pausing, we show the speaker that we’ve listened to them, and we respect what they had to say enough to consider it before we launch into our response.
You could call this “Backtracking and Clarify.” This is where you rephrase what was said and ask if you understood correctly. You get agreement as to the communication, and you make sure that what you heard was really what was meant. It takes only a moment and prevents assumptions that create misunderstandings later.
This is the one I’ve had the most trouble with. After we have clarified, we validate the opinion/feeling/expression of the other.
Validation does not necessarily mean agreement. It simply means we understand how they might feel or think about something. And if you were them, and had the same experience, you would feel or think like them.
This whole process might seem like it would be time consuming, but it’s really not. Even if it takes a little longer at first, you’ll find it makes for clearer, more effective communication with less hurt feelings and more understanding. Something the world needs a lot more of.
October 16, 2020
Stocks declined for a third day in a row yesterday. The culprits? More of the same. The market likes hearing about stimulus, and those talks were delayed again. And yesterday’s unemployment numbers show that job losses continue to mount across companies large and small.
Typically, bad news has become good news again. That’s because poor economic news makes for a case for more stimulus. But until there’s clarity on that issue, trades can continue to expect a wild ride. But, to be fair, we were warned about the pre-election volatility in markets.
Now here’s the rest of the news:
The Metals Are Finally Ready For Take-Off
Here’s three reasons why:
- “With the Trump and Biden agendas estimated to cost between $5.0 trillion and 5.6 trillion over the next decade, both would provide substantial tailwinds for the long gold trade.”
- “As the government keeps printing more money, the value of each dollar decreases, and gold is bound to rise.”
- “After nearly 3 weeks of sideways/downward price action in Gold and Silver, our researchers believe both metals have already setup another breakout/rally attempt.”
October 16, 2019
Criticisms and Advice Can Work!
Encountering an experience when someone told you how fat (or thin) you’ve become, probably was not good!
There are times when you need to criticize people to help improve a certain aspect of their lives, but you don’t like to hurt their feelings or ego. So what can we do in these situations? Look no further.
How to handle and give criticism in the most positive light.
Honest feedback from others (even if they don’t intend to criticize), as well as dismiss any advice you won’t be following without hurting their feelings … is a skill that can be learnt … and therefore can be taught. You can never satisfy everyone in this world, which is why you have to know how to handle harsh words and offensive remarks. Here’s how…
- Clarify the details. Because critics have the tendency to inflate the situation, ask them for quantifiable proof. Before asking your question, it would help to say, “I don’t understand. What is it about my report that was offensive?” By asking this way, you will know the exact reason for their criticism, and you’ll have a chance to give them the complete facts and evidence to support your case.
- Reframe the criticism. Instead of treating the criticism as a nasty insult, consider it as honest feedback to help you improve yourself. When your boss tells you that your report still needs to be better, listen to everything he has to say. By doing this, you’ll be able to replace your anger or frustration with gratitude. This puts you in the right frame of mind.
- Use fogging. When someone says that you’re a slow learner, is that true or false? To whom are you being compared? Your clothes look deployable! “You have a point, you know. I may sometimes be so thrifty I have to buy the lowest quality outfit.” Through fogging, you accept the criticism in as far as whatever may be true in it (as stated by the critic). This is an effective way to handle criticism without being defensive.
- Apply negative assertion. What if the criticism is absolutely true? Then you must willingly accept the criticism, but you don’t have to take the guilt trip. Here’s how a son used negative assertion in his conversation with his father: Dad: Son, I saw your report card and I am very much disappointed with your grades. Son: You’re right, Dad. I should do something to improve my grades. Dad: Well, you should! I think you’re spending so much time on extracurricular activities that you’re sacrificing your studies. Why not focus on just your studies? Son: These activities do take up so much of my time, don’t they, Dad? I will manage my time and learn to prioritize. If needed, I’ll forgo some of my extracurricular activities.
- Reverse the roles. Sometimes, people just blame you for circumstance beyond your control. If they’re in your position, they won’t be able to resolve the problem too but they blame you anyway. To make them understand what you’re going through, ask something like, “If you’re in my position, what would you do and how would you feel?” By doing this, they will at least realize how their words are affecting you.
- Counter the criticism. It’s important to use a proper rebuttal when you hear words of discouragement or disagreement. Critic: You’re too untalented to join the speech contest. You: If I join, I either win or lose. But I lose 100% if I don’t at least try. And I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking “What if…”
- Immunize against the criticism. “Son, you’re going to meet other kids who might tell you that they are better or smarter than you. Just ignore them because what they are saying is wrong. Some kids are so insecure they’ll discourage you from doing your best!”
To build happy relationships, we must be able to handle and give criticism — as well as advice — in the most positive light.
I hope this helped … forward with confidence! 😉