Journey U Blogs

How To Be Heard

Our voices matter and, when it is not heard, it leaves us wounded. Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal? That means that 93% of what we communicate has nothing to do with what we say. 55% is our body language and 38% is our tone and inflections. The old saying is true – it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
To add to the complexity of communication, communication only happens when information is given, received, processed, and understood. This process meets the emotional need of being seen, heard, known, and valued. Otherwise, it is a misunderstanding.
Misunderstandings happen in the giving when our verbal and non-verbal communications do not line up or if we are unable or unwilling to communicate fully. This often occurs because of shame, fear, or self-doubt. Misunderstanding occurs in the receiving when the other person has put up walls of self-protection and is unable to receive from you regardless of what you are trying to communicate. Misunderstanding occurs in the processing when the information passes through filters of beliefs, life experiences, wounds, judgments, and basic understanding. Misunderstanding takes place in the understanding when one or more parties believe you must agree to be understood. That is a lie.
Think about the color blue. What shade are you thinking of? When I think of blue I think of a midnight navy. My daughter thinks of her favorite shade of blue which is aqua. We see the same thing from different perspectives. If we all can’t agree we are talking about the same shade of blue, what makes us think we will always be on the same page?
There are 10 things you can do to be heard.
1.        Know your audience. Be aware of their triggers and try to avoid them while communicating. There are many ways to get your point across. Knowing your audience will help guide you in how you should approach communication to complete the communication process.
2.        Timing is everything. Picking the right time will greatly increase your ability to be heard.
3.        Be respectful.
4.        Be curious. Ask clarifying questions so that you are sure you are talking about the same things.
5.        Be present. Do not multitask.
6.        Active listening. Listen with your body. I like to tell people the most effective way to listen is with your eyes.
7.        Be open-minded to hearing another perspective. You do not have to change your mind, but you do have permission to do it if you choose.
8.        Affirmation sandwich. The affirmation sandwich is an affirmation, correction, affirmation. Example: I love it when you use your voice to be heard. However, when you use your voice disrespectfully, it really hurts me. Don’t stop using your voice, just figure out a better way to communicate so I can hear you better.
9.        Mirroring what you heard. Example: What I heard you say is important that I communicate but that when I use that tone it hurts you and you are unable to hear me.
10.    Take turns speaking. If you have a difficult time not interrupting, use the spoon method. The person holding the spoon speaks. When they are finished, they hand the spoon to the other person.

By understanding the process of communication and practicing the best practices of communication, you will increase your effectiveness in communicating and less hurt.

By: Laura Bradshaw
Image by: Karsten Winegeart