When How You Say It Becomes More Important Than What You Say?

In relations and interactions when both people do not feel close enough to understand the non-verbal behavior and communication; the way things are said becomes more important than the content which is being communicated. There lies a greater chance for misinterpretation and increasing distance in the relationship, if the method to convey the message is rude and crude. You may be conveying something productive, useful but if the tone is inappropriate, all the message, effort and good wishes to help/guide people can go down the drain.

Let's discuss how we can improve the chances of our communication delivering the intended message.

1. Talk peacefully:

Remember everyone has their reason to think and behave in certain way. Try to find and address that reason first instead of the resulting behavior. Patiently listen and talk. You cannot rush the conversation in an attempt to make the other person change his/her mind. You have to keep it slow and go step by step to actually convince the other person. Keep the conversation bilateral. If you make it a long speech, added with ample criticism and expression of disliking the other person, the conversation would lose it's effectiveness.

2. Make people believe:

In my teaching experience, I found that students would improve more if I increased their confidence that they can do it, make them believe that they have all the required talent and that they can excel ahead because they are truly talented, instead of pointing out their deficiencies and criticizing them. If you give positive appreciation to people, they will act positive. Therefore if you want someone to do something, give them the assurance that you fully support them and they can do it.

3. Act and behave like common person-someone who makes mistakes:

Do not be hesitant to share your real life experiences. People can learn more the real life examples than a mere list of don's and don'ts. Open up and relate your own experience if it's relevant.

I was once trying to convince a student to quit smoking, I was taken by surprise when the student asked me if I ever had a habit which was too hard to give up and if I did, then how did I quit? At that moment I realized it would have been best to relate an example first instead of beginning a counseling session. People would appreciate if they can be guided how things can be done instead of just instructing them.

 Written By Dr. Muhammad Wasif Haq, Islamabad, Pakistan.


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