Why communication fails so often
Over 90% of our behavior over the course of a day is not driven by rational considerations. It usually runs on "autopilot". The autopilot steers our behavior in a few hundredths of a second, based on emotional assessments, on established behaviors, on our self-image, or our social affiliation with a particular group (e.g., "acting like a cop").
To stay in control of a conversation and have a good dialogue, we need to know the traps.
Improve communication through self-esteem
Whenever there is a lot going on, when there is a lot at stake, we run the risk of getting out of hand. Because we or our conversation partner are afraid to lose a lot. Often the emotions boil up. One of the participants in the conversation feels attacked, unfairly treated or offended.
And of course, opinions often diverge. Everyone wants to be right. If a speaker is convinced that he knows the best solution, he will want to convince the other participants by all means. If all three conditions meet – it's about a lot, the emotions boil up, you have different opinions – the failure of the conversation is almost inevitable. Matchstick and jerrycans!
Fear plays a big role in the breakdown of communication. This can be the fear of losing something important: money, possessions, cherished habits. But also reputation, respect, status or self-esteem. Fear leads to the release of adrenaline. This provides the body with a signal to equip the arms, legs and muscles with additional blood if at risk.
The body switches to fight, flight or rigor (to kill oneself). In this condition, there is not enough blood left in the brain. Rational decisions and intelligent conversations are no longer possible. If you or one of the other callers shows signs of anxiety, stop the call.
There are no reasonable results to be expected. Eliminate the reason of fear. Restore the trust or the respect.
Improve communication through looseness
When it comes to a lot, the inclination to stiffen positions is great. You want a holiday on the beach, your partner wants to go to the mountains. Every millimeter that you or your correspondent should deviate from your position means loss. In such a situation, you are closer to struggle than to dialogue.
Procedure: First, find a common goal of your conversation. Where are you together (Common Ground)? In the example, you both want to spend a holiday together in order to recover from everyday life. Whether you better relax on the beach or hiking is not a matter of destination.
It's just different strategies to reach the common goal. If you can agree on that, all you need to do is to be creative and to find solutions that will do both. But congratulations! From now on you are already back in dialogue. So: Find a common goal. Never talk about positions, but about possible strategies.
Improve communication and avoid quarrels
Disagreements are the most common reason why conversations slip into contention. Everybody knows that he is right. You just have to convince the other one. But that's exactly where the mistake lies. Who wins in a disagreement, which generates a loser. Since no one likes to lose, the dialogue fails.
Maybe one of them gives in more easily, but only to have his rest. The "lawyer" may be right, but he worsens the relationship with the interlocutor. Often not even the opinion wins, which also corresponds to the end of the reality. But the one who can best express his opinion wins. But that is not a measure of the truth.
Constructivists say, "There is no truth. Everyone lives in their own world. "And Einstein once said," If another person, who also has a brain, disagrees with me, then I have to find out why. "The dialogue is:" Represent your opinion as if you knew you truth. But listen, as if you did not know anything. "
Improve communication through common goals
The goal of dialogue is for everyone to equally share their opinions in the common pot of information. Because the more information in the pot, and the more experts contribute your assessment, the better the solutions will be later. Effective communication and dialogue, that is to say, deal with each other in such a way that in the end the relationship with each other is better than before, with better results.
What will help you to get through difficult, emotional situations, back to self-control, rational dialogue and dialogue, you will learn in the next post.
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