This is a continuation of “Listen to Me! Part I”.
OK so now that you have your partner in a place where they’re ready to actually listen, it’s time to set the groundwork. What do you want from them in this moment? Usually I like to say to my partner, “I just want you to listen to me right now… I don’t want you to comment… all I need from you right now is to listen.” And then I began to speak.
A great technique that I like to use is called an “I statement”. I statements are ways to communicate how you feel and what you want in a very succinct way. So you would say, “I feel (insert feeling word) when you (insert behavior), please (insert changed behavior). An example of this is: “I feel unappreciated when you leave your stuff around the house. Please pick up after yourself.”
Here you are expressing how you feel, you’re being clear, you’re being direct, and you’re telling your partner exactly what you need. And guess what, they’re listening.
Speak as honestly and directly as possible. Leave no room for interpretation. Use examples and provide specific behaviors you want to see.
When you’re done talking, circle back and you ask your partner to restate or paraphrase what you just said. Make sure that they have it right because if they don’t you’re going to have to say it again. You want them to communicate back to you what you just said so that you in turn feel heard.
This is communication skills 101 and it is essential for every working relationship. Go home and try out these techniques.
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