1) Active Listening
Also referred to as “be with” listening, active listening is a practice where you stay present with the person talking. Instead of thinking about how you will respond, slow down and take the time to listen from a place of understanding. Trust that the right response will be there without practicing it in your head while someone else is talking. Think about how much you miss whenever you distract yourself with your thoughts!
2) Understand your emotional state and triggers
Understanding how your emotional state plays into your communication with people is the first step in changing your behaviors. Certain people may trigger you all. the. time. Let’s face it, we all know who those people are in our lives, and often we can’t avoid it, from the project manager driving you bonkers with micro-management to your 5-year old who never listens! The emotional trigger is a hook, and before you know it, you’ve spiraled into defensiveness, anger, or shutting down.
Before interacting with these people, examine your feelings about the upcoming interaction. Being clear on your emotional state gives you grace in dealing with this person. When you know how you will react, you can become the observer. Take a step back, and ask yourself, “what’s important here?” Give yourself some emotional breathing room and allow space for something new. You may be surprised how a conversation can change and how different it will feel when you notice and calm your triggers.
3) Be curious
We’ve all been there, where someone says or does something to us. This could be someone treating you like a 10-year-old when you’re a grown-ass adult or someone taking the back door to your manager when you’re supposed to be the point of contact on a project. Cultivating curiosity about why that happened again can help you calm the trigger. It doesn’t feel good when our perception is that person just told us I’m not good enough! I get it. And, You may ask yourself, “Is this person really out to get me, or is something else going on?”
In environments where people are overworked and rushing through tasks, there indeed could be something else going on. When seemingly brushing off others around them, they feel overwhelmed and have difficulty recognizing where to let go. It may feel like you’re being ignored or not utilized by you, the recipient. Bringing yourself back from the brink of frustration and anger opens you up to possibilities that you didn’t see before.