Often, it seems that the harder you try to have your needs met, the less successful you are. Instead of inviting others to listen and cooperate, you may drive them away with complaints, attacks, lectures, or orders. To get what you want, you need to take your attention off others and focus on yourself—your feelings, wants, and limits.
Complaints, criticisms, and orders focus on others and start with the word “You.” Instead, turn useless “you messages” into words that work.
INTROSPECT TO IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS, WANTS, AND LIMITS
The more shades and intensities with which you express your emotions, the better you will be understood. Often, it is important to dig for more painful feelings of fear and hurt that lie beneath surface anger: Making requests is especially hard for people who have never given themselves permission to have wants and desires. They may be concerned that their requests will be refused or that others will comply out of obligation instead of desire. If your requests are refused, you are no worse off than if you had not asked at all. It can actually help people further their development when they reluctantly cooperate. It is unfair to require people to want to do things they are willing to do.
PREPARE PEOPLE TO LISTEN
Before you can even begin to make your point, you may first have to prepare others to listen. This is especially true when others are angry, talkative, or controlling. Often, it is necessary to listen first! Show you understand by rephrasing others’ thoughts, recognizing their feelings, and validating factors that contribute to those feelings. Withhold your own ideas until others become curious about where you stand. Then you can help them focus their attention on you: Ask suggestive questions before making your point: “Do you want to
Not only will the above questions encourage others to focus on you, they will help you look at yourself. Intently listening to others can clarify any differences between you and make communication more efficient and effective.