Friends and family have been talking about communication difficulties lately. Whether it is a with a friend, a loved one, or even with a teacher, communication can be challenging. How can you tell someone you are upset with them without hurting their feelings? It is not an easy thing to do.
A situation occurred in my class, where a teacher's assistant graded my essay in a negative way. I was surprised by this grade, as I was positive I had done the work completely and thoroughly. I was extremely upset by my grade, as at this point in my academic career, I am BRINGING IT! So I approached the teacher's assistant to shed light on my sub-par grade. He told me that he had just "skimmed" my work, and that he missed the fact that I did my work completely. WHAT??!! OH NO YOU DIDN'T! Needless to say, I convinced him to change my grade.
My girls have also had occasions when they have felt that their teachers were being unjust with regards to their grades. By respectfully speaking with the teachers, they have been successful in resolving their conflicts.
Communication is really the key to success. Whether it is in school, work, or socially. It is so critical to communicate an issue rather than let your frustration fester. But communication can be difficult, as you hope that the outcome is positive, but if you aren't careful about how you communicate, the results can be worse.
In my Science of Happiness Class at NYU, my professors discussed making sure that we avoid communication hazards. It is helpful to remember a few basics rules when dealing with a situation, where you need to communicate your point in a respectful way.
- Be present. Make time for the communication. Don't rush. Look the person in the eye. Display body language that you are ready to communicate and that you care.
- Don't put words into their mouth. You don't know what's going on in their head, so only communicate what you know to be true, not what supposedly is true.
- Be respectful of what they have to say. Even if you disagree, listen and understand their point of view.
- If the communication is not reaching any conclusions, don't let it escalate to the point that the circumstances get worse. Communicate that you need to take a break, or it might just be that you have to accept the different opinions and move on.
It is not easy to speak your mind or stand up for yourself. But if you do it in the right way, you will reap the benefits. It will also make you feel better. Got anything to say? Let me know, I'd be happy to talk to you about it.