Communication is an Art and a learned skill...
If you ever wanted to improve the way you communicate and relate with others, I recommend reading the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall B. Rosenberg.
He develops the NVC process, which consists of either expressing honestly or receiving empathically through four components:
• The concrete actions we observe that affect our well-being.
• How we feel in relation to what we observe.
• The needs, desires, values, etc. that create our feelings.
• The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives.
For example, a person might say: "I feel frustrated when you come late, because I need to start the meeting on time to accommodate our agenda. If we need extra time today, would you please stay to help?"
The book is simply written and guides you through exercises to hone your skills in these components. It is challenging, though, and takes a great deal of awareness and empathy, as many of us have been exposed to alienating ways of communicating. Some of the challenges of this process are:
• avoiding moralistic judgments, making comparisons
• making observations without evaluating
• expressing feelings (as opposed to thoughts, judgments, opinions)
• expressing requests rather than demands and accepting non-compliance
• sustaining empathy (especially when we are receiving a negative message)
This NVC process is used worldwide in everything from counseling, anger management, to peace negotiations, and defusing potentially violent situations. Check it out!