Have you ever wondered how to develop communication skills after saying something inappropriate?
We often speak our mind without much thinking.
And end up with conversations that are unproductive.
That’s because we come from a defensive mode.
Or a “teaching” mode.
But what if we adopt a loving mode instead?
Here’s a companion video if you’d rather watch a video than read the article:
Talking to my mother to develop communication skills
I reprogram myself every day, replacing my default behaviors with more positive ones.
My most challenging conversations are with my mother.
Say, 5 years ago, we really struggled because we both were too pushy and not good listeners.
But when I talk to her now, I like my attitude 80% of the time.
With the other 20%, I am still in a defensive or teaching mode.
For example, she often tells me that we are both difficult.
That triggers a defense response in me because I’ve been specifically working on improving that.
In the past, I would have started arguing with her to explain that I had improved.
I don’t do that anymore.
But I might still go into a semi-defensive mode.
Like asking her questions to make her notice the changes in me.
That’s an improvement but I’m still in a defensive mode.
Ultimate communication mode
What’s the ultimate communication mode?
It’s the loving mode.
I love Barbara DeAngelis‘ metaphor:
“Loving communication is like a tube connecting two people through which love, support, and appreciation flow back and forth.”
You accept the other person unconditionally.
You shut down any thoughts about how they should be different or do things differently.
So how do you override your defensive or teaching mode with the loving one?
Here is a technique that I use.
I call it “CEO.”
It stands for:
- Cheer up
- Open up
Cheering up is saying or doing things that improve the mood of the group.
Like a simple genuine compliment.
For example, I might compliment my mother while talking to her online:
“You look great in this photo!”
She’ll feel better as a result.
And I can also uplift the other person by cheering myself up.
For example, I can improve my own mood by acknowledging with emotion something that I like:
- “I love that graffiti.”
- “It was such a great idea to take a walk in the park.”
I feel better as a result.
And it also sends out good vibes to my mother.
A communication coach Alex Lyon said:
The way we communicate with other people is contagious.
When we are encouraging to others, they will then be more encouraging in return.
By making simple daily choices like this, we can completely change the social atmosphere over time.
Elevating is acknowledging something good about a person to help them recognize their positive traits or progress.
Like celebrating every small accomplishment on a way to improving behavior.
For example, my mother has confidence issues so I elevate her to make her feel more confident:
- “It’s a great job calling them and asking for what you really wanted instead of accepting their offer.”
- “Thank you for your help today, I wouldn’t have been able to do that without you.”
For loving communication, conversations must be easy and smooth.
Engage the other person in the conversation so that both of you speak your mind and listen on a deep level.
Do it especially if you feel the other person is closing down or growing apart from you.
The best thing is to ask questions:
- “What has been on your mind today?”
- “Are you tired?”
- “Do you remember how we loved walking near the cruise ships in Rhodes?”
A voice and communication coach Sylvia Larrass said:
We underestimate the power of listening.
When you allow the other person to simply speak, without judging or trying to ‘fix’ things, they feel safe to open up.
And it’s in that act of opening up that issues often get sorted out, and that the healing can begin.
Go “CEO” to develop your communication skills
There you go.
Remember this metaphor every time you talk to people.
Become the “CEO.”
Take charge of your communications.
Activate the loving mode in your conversations.
Upgrade your conversations with coaching
If you need help improving communication in your relationships, contact me for relationship coaching.