You said what?!?

You said what?!?
November 6, 2013 Linda Murray

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to have a difficult conversation and you’re just not sure how best to tackle it? We all have! The mistake people often make is going into such a conversation with the need to be right. Trying to convince someone that you are right often does 2 things …

  1. they feel like you’re saying they are therefore wrong (no-one likes to be wrong)
  2. they don’t feel heard. In fact, if you’re so intent to be right, they probably weren’t heard!

Linda Murray,

Supportive communication will allow both parties to feel heard, understood and you are much more likely to have a conversation which results in a positive outcome for both people.

Think back to a conversation you’ve had recently which was less than ideal. How did you feel? What was the outcome? Did it strengthen or weaken your relationship with the person you were communicating with? Chances are the communication was unsupportive – maybe on both sides.

Here are some tips on how to communicate supportively. Although it may seem challenging in the heat of the moment, I promise it will result in better outcomes for everyone. Remember, practice makes perfect!

SUPPORTIVE COMMUNICATION

UNSUPPORTIVE COMMUNICATION

Congruent: match between verbal & non-verbal communication Incongruent: mismatch between thoughts/feelings & communications
Descriptive: true description of facts & observations, not perceptions Evaluative: makes judgment of or labels behaviour
Problem-oriented: focuses on problems & solutions, not behaviours Person-oriented: hard to change personality therefore inappropriate focus on person
Validating: people feel understood, recognised, accepted Invalidated: negative feelings of self-worth, identity
Specific: focus on a specific event/behaviour that can be changed Global: extreme/absolute or deny possible alternatives
Conjunctive: smooth flow and relevance of comments Disjunctive: lack of equal time, inappropriate pauses, disjointed or unrelated
Owned: ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’ – acceptance of responsibility Disowned: Third party language, creates confusion
Supportive listening: Listening needs to be highlighted to communicator One-way message delivery: delivery without consideration for other parties opinion, needs

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