You may not play games, but you’re definitely on a team. Building relationships, friendships, families, and healthy co-worker associations is all about teamwork. Often, lack of communication can be the downfall of a great, productive relationship. Ask me. I know. In the past, my mouth has gotten me into some mess that’s too much for blogging.
Through my own trial and error, and honestly through some of the actions of others, I’ve learned that there are a few ways to make sure communication doesn’t keep us from successful associations. However, taking a note from Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, “It takes two to make a thing go right.”
So how do you gain and maintain talk that matters?
1. Determine the best way to communicate based on each person’s preference. Ask the other person which method of communication is preferred. Mornings? Nights? Email? Phone? Face-to-face? Thirty minutes after coming into the house from work, or arriving at work? An hour after putting the kids to bed?
2. Be upfront, honest and respectful in communicating. Be willing to adjust, where needed, based on what is shared.
3. Avoid “You” statements, accusatory tones, and defensive responses, especially during tough talks.
4. Clearly define roles, making sure each person understands what is expected regarding roles, projects and performance.
5. Open your mouth. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
6. Open your heart and ears. Don’t be opposed to truly listening, thoroughly and without pre-determining the direction or outcome of the conversation.
7. Have an “I’m sorry”, “I apologize”, “My bad” or “Oops” always in reserve.
8. Include each other on communication with others when it relates to shared responsibilities.
9. Be mindful of the other person’s way of processing thoughts, ideas and feedback.
10. Be specific and thorough in your communication with others including as much detail as possible prior to approaching a matter. Don’t do a detail overload though.
11. Meet and talk often to stay abreast of goings on and coming up.
12. Keep excellent records of communications with others (and each other) regarding shared duties.
13. Make sure respect of the role of the other person is at the forefront.
14. Address tough issues as early as possible as to not allow time to fester and to come to a quicker resolve.
15. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the experts to keep communication flowing. Talk is like plumbing. Sometimes we need an expert to come in and get rid of the, shall we say, sewage.
At the end of the day, always remember that a good talk (and some even better listening) can go a long way.