A former counselor of mine once taught me an important tool for communication that is great to do in any relationship whether it be a marriage, family, or friendship.
I was encouraged to talk to my family each day about three things that happened during the day and how this made me feel using this list, SoulWordList. Then each family member took their turn doing the same thing. This can be a great dinner table conversation without technology present.
For example, I had a call with my mother, catching up on ‘life’ and this made me feel ‘peaceful.’ This emotion makes me feel relieved, at ease, calm, comforted, cool, relaxed, composed, and protected.
First, it’s very important that, when speaking with others, you are listening and responding with empathy. Take turns giving each other a listening ear without cutting off what the other person is saying. When possible, as well, mention “how can I help you with that?”
In general, the rule of three can be key in communication.
- What three things can I do for you today?
- What three things happened to you today?
- How did those three things make you feel
Don’t underestimate the power of “three things.” Not only does this allow quick conversation, but this also allows the other person to feel heard.
How I found this to be effective with my family and me? Not only did this help us communicate better, but it allowed me to soul search as well. If one of the comments from the other party pertained to me, this allowed me to see something I would have missed.
Most people don’t know how to communicate. We share information, sometimes in very sophisticated ways, but we don’t really communicate. Real communication is a creative process.
Communicating builds mutual respect and trust. Effective communication is needed to build and maintain a healthy, solid foundation for any family, marriage, and/or friendship. To communicate well, we need to know how to listen, build trust and deal with any issues that may cause tension.
Remember the “three things” and “soul words” list next time you sit down at the dinner table.