“One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.” – Linda Lamb.
At the right time, saying the right thing is an art no less than balancing numbers on an accounting sheet or painting the Mona Lisa. It can be known to uplift a broken heart or fill up the bank account with money; hence its scope is unlimited. We have all found ourselves in a situation where we do not know how to respond to a crying individual or found ourselves stuttering and stammering at an important job interview. This might be because while teaching us ABC’s our teachers left out how to use the sentences we form to respond to different emotions, be it ours or other peoples.
‘Do you even hear yourself?’ – The Art of Listening.
We all know that listening intently to what another person is saying can be an essential and valuable trait one can possess. However, aside from listening to the other individual. It is also always important to weigh our words before leaving our tongue. The tongue, however small an organ of the body, must not be underestimated as it can cause significant damage to us; hence we should ask ourselves, ‘is this something I would want to hear if I were going through a situation like this?’, this leads me to my next point.
‘Put yourself in my shoes’ – The Art of Empathizing.
We often say the wrong things because we fail to empathise with those we communicate with. There exist 7 billion people in this world whose genetic makeup differs from one another. Still, somehow, we find it hard to grasp that these people’s temperament and life experiences are different. We assume the best about ourselves and the worst about the people we interact with daily and hence by default, think that we are always right. It’s always best to go by two principles. 1) Don’t say the things you think you need to say but say those things that people need to hear, and 2) imagine you’re the person you are speaking to. Hence, you’d always be kind to yourself; hence, be kind to others too; everyone is experiencing a different battle.
‘Am I making sense?’ – The Art of Comprehending.
We are no strangers to going along with something someone said just because we didn’t understand them the third time we asked them to repeat themselves. Sometimes we get away with it; other times, we find ourselves in sticky spots. Understanding where someone is coming from is not a task many can master because, for some people, their ego gets in the way. But with practice, it indeed gets better and better each time.
‘Don’t be so stubborn’ – The Art of Compromising.
Our ego is funny; it keeps us from giving in, even for those we love. But like a wise man once said, it is better to be happy than to be correct—many a time, giving in stops things from blowing out of proportion. Ego can get in the way of friendships, relationships, promotions, marriages, and enjoying many good things that life has to offer; hence it’s always best to leave it out of the equation.
‘You don’t have to say anything’ – The Art of Shutting up.
You can’t always say the right thing at the right time because sometimes there isn’t anything you can speak to to make the situation better, for example, when someone has lost a loved one. So what do you do in times like those? You keep quiet. You use your body to show you care, maybe a hug or a shoulder to cry on. Remember, non-verbal communication is as vital as verbal is. This can be important, if not the most important art, even overmastering communication. By keeping quiet, you give the other person the opportunity to release their emotions, and you provide a healthy atmosphere for them to do the same.