Do you feel like you have an obligation to give feedback? Is one of your core values “I care. Therefore, I criticize.” I bet when you are being told to do something differently the first thing you hear is the criticism isn’t it. I give feedback all the time, but it is because I care and I’m sure you do as well. Would you rather that no one cared? This is exactly why I can handle your feedback because I know you care.
Feedback Can Be The Spark That Ignites An Explosion
Many times you wonder why family, supervisors, or consumers are so critical of you. It probably gets frustrating especially when making comments to a loved one, and it comes across as criticism. Even your advice is meant to be loving but comes across hurtful. Sorting this out can be a complex task in any relationship.
I know my spouse and boys have a front row seat to all my faults. I can quickly overreact to any hint of criticism without thinking about the meaning of their words. You probably don’t realize the underlying message when hearing feedback. We filter the information with our judgments and create moments of unpleasantness and offensiveness.
Communication Triggers Strong Emotions
Criticism is the source of conflict and hurt, especially from those who we respect and love. The messages we hear are just words, but the underlying messages come from the heart and grow as a relationship develops. When it originates from the heart, our emotions are triggered, and we react.
Mixing the information and the underlying message can be confusing. Underlying messages are implicit, not explicit. The underlying message is fastened to the relationship, and the message is the words that come out.
Communication Remembers History
Whatever you do can have an impact on the other person, so you must take their needs and preferences into account when communicating a message. This is not about being sensitive to others needs. Effective communication is about understanding how they relate to the message.
Every second we grapple with control but also for appreciation and support. Things can get out of hand fast when giving guidance, suggesting alternatives and relaying observations. We just want those dearest to us to see our best side. We want a close ally, not a critic. Hopefully, you can see how an insignificant, raw idea turns into a struggle.
4 Tips To Improve Conversations
Here are some tips to improve your conversations.
- Avoid responding critically, judgmental or defensive.
- Receive the underlying message. What is being said?
- The timing of your questions is essential. Hold questions until you have listened empathetically 2-3 times to what is being said.
- Refrain from trying to solve the problem or do any thinking while others are speaking. Listen.
Active listening depends on what is going on in the head and the heart of those communicating. If you don’t clear your mind of perceptions and put away judgement, then the information is going to be filtered which becomes self-defeating.
Talking Is A Lot Like Juggling
Do not turn communication into a minefield. Talking takes work, it is a risk but worth talking. If it never gets said, it will never be resolved. You must understand and navigate the needs of the other person while trying to provide feedback in a loving, understanding way. You can take turns. One person is the talker, the other a listener. They are two different and distinct roles. After the speaker is finished, you can swap positions.
It is your turn to help me grow by being the talker…
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