Effective Communication in Five easy steps

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October 2, 2015 Daily
Effective Communication in Five easy steps
… By Author & Nationally Recognized Psychology Expert
William Benson, LMFT, LPCC
Have you ever looked through a window only to be distracted by your own reflection in the pane? Do you
find yourself fussing over your appearance rather than fixing your gaze on what’s actually happening on
the other side of the glass?
As a Relationship Counselor in Los Angeles, I help clients adopt more effective communication strategies
by keeping this simple analogy in mind when socializing with others
Small Talk is not Effective Communication
People tend to treat discussions as self-involved mirrors; seeking to reinforce and reassure their own
points of view instead of considering their communication partner’s perspectives as viable opportunities to
learn and grow. Agendas set and engagement compromised, our attention spans suffer along as we
endure yet another “small talk” conversation.
The next time you find yourself struggling along in conversation, ask yourself who is creating this struggle.
Realize that, if you are struggling, you’ve probably attached your identity to a particular thought or idea –
and this is limiting you. As your focus shifts to your inner-commentary you lock yourself into judgment.
From this point it’s easy to get competitive and plan a response to prove how right you are (if he’d only
stop yammering!).
It is far healthier to look past our own agendas and view conversations as opportunities to expand our
horizons: This is clearly a way to build solid relationships. Acceptance, by definition, does not require
we agree with every perspective we hear, rather, Acceptance involves finding a way to put our own egoic
struggle down when we find ourselves encountering differing points of view.
Windows of Opportunity for Effective Communication
Practice the following five steps and increase your ability to effectively communicate:
1. Get and stay curious about their point of view without trying to dismantle it – it’s a conversation
NOT a competition.
2. Let your conversation partner know you are actively listening by paraphrasing what you’ve
heard. This also helps clarify any misconceptions.
3. Find a grain of truth in the other person’s point of view – even if it seems like a speck of sand
on a vast beach of unreasonableness.
4. Use tactful curiosity as a tool for clarity: “When you tell me the sky is red, it confuses me
because the sky appears blue to me.”
5. Allow yourself to learn something new (maybe your conversation partner was describing a
sunset, or maybe the sky is red on mars).
Create your own windows of opportunity
Once you are in this mutually respectful place, find ways to strengthen your newly found camaraderie
understand that differences can prove to be enlightening rather than threatening and, when mixed
together, can provide a sum that’s greater than its parts (for more information, click).
Realize that we are not our thoughts – thoughts are flexible references to life – and live is ever-changing.
Decide to step away from the limits of your own reflection. Roll up any shades of doubt, throw open the
windows of opportunity, and cast your gaze toward a bigger picture – whatever colors the sky happens to
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Benson is a Board certified Behavioral Scientist and Licensed Psychotherapist. Bill
pioneered The Mental Gym, a counseling practice that has trained thousands to build, and then maintain healthier
perspectives and emotional muscle.
A go-to expert in the Psychology field, Bill has appeared on a variety of television programs, including Fox's Good Day
LA, CBS' Woman to Woman, and NBC's Tonight Show.
Bill is a recurring panelist for Huffington Post Live and co-hosted 250 episodes of the cable talk show Doc Talk.
Bill is a published writer, covering creative solutions to life’s challenges. He and his work have been featured in
newspapers, TV and radio programs across America.
For Keynote speaking appearances, schedule of current speaking engagements (local, national and international) TV,
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[email protected] mergdigital.com 310.945.7414