Communicating in Lock Down
As lock down continues, relationships are becoming strained and many families are struggling with being cooped up all day long.
Communication is often at the heart of where things go wrong… we hear what we are expecting to hear, and sometimes struggle to get our point across without things escalating into an argument. The reality is, the more something matters to you, the harder it can be to stay calm and composed and able to communicate in a constructive way. I’ve documented my top tips to help you communicate in a clear, constructive way below…
It’s easy to ask a question, and not really listen to the answer, but try not to fall into this trap. If you ask a question, really give space and listen attentively to the answer. By really listening, fully, we can often hear the unspoken. Listen to the language the person is using, observe their body language, give them space to compose their answer without pressure, check out if you have understood them correctly and you’ll get a more honest response.
Ask what they need
When conversations become heated it can be hard to find a way out of the conversation without one person storming off… so when both parties have had a chance to lay out their point of view, ask ‘ how do we move this forward’ or ‘what can we do to resolve this’. This shows joint responsibility for the resolution, and a commitment to move things on rather than keeping going in circles.
Use positive language
Often when we’re going into a difficult conversation, we can feel that we need to use stern language to emphasise our point. This is not the case. We can communicate effectively and be assertive by using positive language. So rather than saying “you just don’t care enough about this to resolve it” you can re-frame it to “I know that we both have a lot on our plates at the moment, but this matters to me and I think it does to you so I want us to commit to resolving this together” Positive language and feedback will get you much further in any conversation than taking a negative approach and highlighting the other persons perceived failings.
‘Say what you mean and mean what you say’… tell the other person what you need. Express your feelings. Let them in on what is really going on for you. If you can be honest, you’ve a much better chance of getting to the route of the problem and getting a resolution that actually works. By talking around something we can end up going off in a tangent and not really saying what we mean which is a double bogey, because you leave the conversation not feeling truly heard, and the resolution you come up with (if any) doesn’t fit the actual problem
Take a break if you need it
If things are getting too much, or you need some space to process the conversation so far, take a pause. Agree with the other person that you will give each other some space for an agreed period of time (I’d recommend 30mins tops) before you agree to both return to the conversation to explore your findings. The moment things start to escalate, it’s unlikely anything good will occur beyond that point so take some time, breathe, think it over and reconvene.