I recently conducted an Emotional Intelligence workshop with a colleague where the aim was to improve parent’s conversations with their young adults. Although the focus was on parents and young adults, this topic is for everyone and how you can work on improving your general conversations. Learn to become your friend, spouse, sibling, partner or child’s personal coach, all you have to do is start implementing these tricks.
TIP NUMBER 1 – Adapt your listening skills
So lets take a moment and talk about listening because in today’s society, listening is no longer a gift we all have, but it is a skill we have to develop. Have you ever been in a conversation where you are divulging quite important stuff and the person you are talking to is listening but they are not really hearing you? This can be a mood killer. So start making a difference and start with you by becoming more authentic with the way you listen.
Carl Rogers formed part of the Humanistic Psychology field and was the creator of the Person-Centered Approach. Rogers provides us with the concept of active listening which is a great start to improving your listening skills and building on your relationships…
Use physical listening. These are mannerisms that indicate that you are listening. For example, nodding your head and perhaps using certain hand gestures.
Listen for feelings. So when you listen to a person, listen to their words but also listen to the emotion behind what they are saying. What is their tone of voice for example?
Paraphrase and Summarize. Reflect back what you are hearing in their words or your own words. This is a very nifty trick to make sure you are accurately hearing what the person is saying. This gives the person the chance to say, “No that is not what i meant to say or yes exactly!”
Listen without judgment. This is a challenge i know! But often we are in a space of listening to respond rather than listening to what is actually being said. We jump in with our own opinions and what we think about the situation rather than keeping an open mind and allowing the other person to develop their own solution.
TIP NUMBER 2 – Develop your empathy
First lets begin with defining what empathy means: empathy is the ability to connect with an individual and experience the emotions with them rather than sympathizing which is more about pitying the situation.
Before you can even look at developing your empathy with others, you first have to develop the empathy with yourself. This means STOP beating yourself up and learn to speak to yourself with respect. Learn to notice your feelings and emotions and give yourself time to reflect over it. When someone is speaking to you, notice what is happening with your own body, feelings and emotions and learn to listen to how your inner-wisdom is communicating with you.
Remember when you develop your empathy with yourself; there is no right or wrong way. It may be challenging at first, but allow yourself to CELEBRATE these feelings because you are growing in self-awareness. This is the first step in adapting your mental attitude!
Once you have started developing the skill of listening to what is happening within you, then you can start increasing your empathy towards others. A really simple process you can start using is to adapt some of your language.
Avoid red flag words such as “never, always, can’t, not and should.”
Often, we think we need to have all the answers, which we don’t. The key is, asking the right questions to ignite the power within the other person. Some basic questions could be “tell me more?” “what strengths do you have that can help you in this situation?” and “What is one thing you can start doing that will help you in this situation?”
Learn to be curious rather than thinking you know it all.This starts to provide a space of possibility where you and the other person can start learning from one another rather than sticking to one opinion.
TIP NUMBER 3 – Be present
This is one of the hardest things to do and I find this concept one of the most challenging, as I too struggle to be in the moment, but here are two tips you can start experimenting with that will help bring you back into the moment…
When you are with someone, avoid fiddling and being on your phone, just sit with that person when they are speaking. Allow yourself to focus on the person’s words, how they are speaking and what they are saying. Firstly the person will appreciate your undivided attention and secondly, you won’t have the mental capacity to think about other things as you are focused on the persons words.
Depending on the culture, use eye contact if that works for you and the other person. I really appreciate it when someone looks at me when I am speaking so notice what feels right for you.
Doug Silsbee defines presence as “a state of awareness, in the moment, characterized by the felt experience of timelessness, connectedness and a larger truth.”
This is beautiful, because when you are present, you really do see it all and connect to your intuitive sense. Allow yourself to truly experience what presence feels like.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is one of my favourite clips on being present. Thank you Gabby, Davidji and team for such an inspiring video!
For more tips on improving your conversations:
Keep your eyes peeled on my up and coming parent and adolescent workshops!
Improve your relationships, mental health and happiness with my self-development coaching packages!
Improve your wellbeing, energy levels and sustain balance through the yoga tools and techniques i provide!
I would love to hear what you think about this post in the comment bar below. Do you have any stories that you would like to share? What have been your experiences and do you like the tips I have given you? I look forward to hearing your beautiful thoughts and to learn more about you! Love and light <3 Jean