Blueprint for Successful Conversations-Dr. Sheri Meyers

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…from Dr. Sheri’s Prescriptions for Partners-
Blueprint for Successful Conversations
The message sent IS the message being received!

“The single biggest problem in communication
is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~George Bernard Shaw

We spend far more time communicating with each other than we do having sex. Communication is the process of exchanging information with one another. Everything we do and say, as well as, what we don’t do nor say, transmits information. What and how we communicate is the way we know and are known by each other. Few experiences are more gratifying than expressing yourself, saying something that is deep and personal and having it heard, received, and understood by your partner. Learning the necessary skills for effective communication is the basic foundation of true intimacy and vital to a healthy relationship.

What is effective communication in a relationship?

It’s very simple. Your message sent is the message received.

What you say to your partner is actually heard by your partner.

Is the message you’re sending being received?

Take this Quick Communication Quiz to find out.

When I express myself, I know I am heard.

I feel comfortable sharing with my partner.

When issues arise, we face them as a team.

We both actively seek to understand each other.

We are open to each other’s thoughts and feelings.

-If you answered no to any of these questions, you and your partner can communicate more effectively.

Get Heard! Easy Communication Tips

“Behind the need to communicate is the need to share.

Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.”

Leo Rosten

A common question that I’m frequently asked: “How can I get my partner to listen to me?” My simple answer often is: it’s all in your delivery and your presentation. It’s not ONLY what you say, it’s also how you say it. HOW you express your needs, desires, and requests for change can mean the difference between finding resolution or starting a fight. Here are some quick tips for how to have your say and have what you say, heard.

Dr.Sheri’s 4 Tips for Peaceful, Cooperative, Skillful Conversing

“I”-Speak: Use I statements such as “I need, I feel, I want, I desire.” Avoid blame filled “You’s” such as “You need to… Your problem is… You’re just…” The key is to make your partner aware, not wrong. “This issue is important to me. I would like to talk to you about it. I promise not to yell or get upset.” Practice using “I” statements and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your dialogue.

Tone: If you’re talking calmly and lovingly, you have a far better chance of keeping your partner’s attention on what you are saying. When someone starts talking really loudly or aggressively, the receiver instinctively goes on the defensive and puts protective walls up. You can’t expect anyone to listen fully when they feel they are being laid into.

When you hold an attitude of cooperation vs. competition, ‘we’re in this together’ ‘we’re a team’ your tone automatically becomes kinder, gentler, and calmer.

Ask for Feedback/Invite Discussion: One surefire way of knowing you are being heard is asking for feedback. What do you think of this? Do you understand where I’m coming from? Feedback also allows you to reaffirm (or resend) any important messages that may have been overlooked or missed.

Each Partner has a Turn saying their say and being heard, feeling openly received without interruption.

Here’s a simple exercise that will help you improve your ability to stay focused, say what you mean, and get what you feel and want expressed in a constructive and caring way. It eliminates the blame filled, character assassination that usually pushes the other away and gets us into trouble.

Remember to use I language.

State your positive intention (i.e. I feel like this issue is coming between us and getting in the way. I hope that by sharing this information with you that we can work together in resolving it. I want to feel closer to you again.

Describe the situation and the behavior that upsets you: Be as specific and objective as possible. “When you come home, walk right past me, and go to our room to without speaking, saying hello or giving me a kiss…” This specifically describes the behavior which is bothering you vs. “when you come home and ignore me” which would usually create an immediate defensive reaction.

Express your feelings and thoughts: (I feel…) (I think, believe, expect…)

Most feelings we experience are a combination of the following: anger, sadness, guilt, happiness, excitement, tenderness. It is important to own your feelings and acknowledge the fact that your partner did not make you feel a certain way.

I feel ___________________ because I think/believe/expect _______________

(e.g. I feel hurt because I think you don’t love me anymore).

Our thoughts about a situation are what creates and stimulates the feelings we are having. In other words, our feelings are a direct result of how we see and interpret the meaning of our partner’s behavior. (e.g. When our partner doesn’t greet us at the door when we come home, the reality might be he or she is busy, but our thoughts and expectations may say that their action is unloving, and then our feelings and responses are off and running!) When you can make the association between what you think and what you feel, everything begins to change for the better.

Specify your wants and what you’d like to change (I would like…) (Are you willing?)

Ask very specifically for an observable change. (e.g. When you come home I’d like it if, before going upstairs, you’d come and find me, give me a hug, and say hi. Are you willing to do that?)

Successful conversations do not necessarily mean getting your way. It means that you have expressed your thoughts, feelings, and/or concerns in a way that is heard and understood. It also means consciously listening and seeking to understand what is being said to you. This kind of communicating can take a little practice but you’ll find the results are well worth it!

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