Eliminate Distractions: Distractions come in many forms: technology, kids, cooking, noises, to-do lists and work are just a few. When you are starting a conversation, ask yourself what distractions you could eliminate to make it more effective. When we eliminate distractions, we are less likely to have misunderstandings and way more willing to listen to the other person with our full attention. Doing this tip alone will help cut down miscommunication a TON!!
Adjust your Mindset: Mindset is key when you are communicating, especially if you are communicating about a topic you may not agree about. Take your time and make sure you are in the right mindset before starting the conversation. You want your walls to be down with your spouse so that you can be completely open and honest. Also, taking time can help eliminate any high emotions which could escalate the conversation. I try to make sure I am in a “soft-hearted” mindset as well, if my heart is hard or upset still, I try to readjust so that we can understand each other better.
Actively Listen: If we are honest, when we are communicating with others, most of the time we are thinking about what we are going to say next. Someone pointed this out to me a year ago and I realized how true it really was. I noticed that I do this in conversations with co-workers, friends and family and not just my spouse. Listening doesn’t mean hearing the other person and preparing what you are going to say next, it means clearing your mind and truly taking in what the other person in saying.
Perspective: If you are actively listening, it might take you a little bit longer to respond that is perfectly fine. I think this gives you time to think about the other persons response or perspective and really try to understand. It is easy to get tunnel vision and only see things your way. Having an open mind can help in the communication process.
Don’t React: You are not always going to agree. Every conversation is not going to go well. Sometimes, you have to take time to think and come up with a compromise. The best tip I have is not be reactionary and raise your voice or tone. You may both need to think about things and continue the conversation tomorrow when someone has an idea for a solution.