Simple communication hacks

By Edward Plant

I sometimes sit back and wonder what planet my wife is on and what is this strange language she is speaking.

At times I talk to my wife and I cannot comprehend what she has heard.

Seriously. Questions come from nowhere and deep down I’m wondering: am I walking into some kind of trap here?  It’s like she has momentarily been given a lobotomy and a new chip has been inserted that changes the language into a strange dialect of Klingon (for the uninitiated, Klingon is the language spoken by the fictional Klingons in the Star Trek universe).  

In these moments our conversations seem worlds apart.

Can you relate to this?

This can be challenging enough when your conversation just revolve around life and family (then for most, they go off in different directions for work each day).

But when your work is in the chair next to your wife and you see her every day, not only is this communication challenge occurring at home, but it’s duplicated at work as well.

This complication is one of the reasons I believe being in a couple of business is so much more challenging than any other form of business on the planet.so

There is no escape. There is no saying “Can we talk about this when I get home from work?” Because yes, you got it — your partner is right there at work with (and waiting for) you!

And this goes both ways.  There is no going to work to ‘avoid’ or delay a difficult conversation.

For those of you who are a couple in business, you need to be able to get onto the same planet as your partner and learn to translate Klingon for your business to thrive and move to the next level where you create more freedom, balance, money and time.

In our work with couples in business we see that when we create the right framework for communication in the workplace, this then changes the communication at home too. We’ll be sharing these strategies at our upcoming Communication Highway workshop on the Gold Coast.

How these alien languages play out

So when your partner starts talking Klingon and you are responding in German, the normal result is a YELLING match.

This confusion in conversation normally starts when the other person is not understanding what you are saying so you talk louder. Your partner sees that you aren’t understanding what they are saying, which triggers them to talk louder.  

This cycle continues and results in YELLING at each other.

Not very helpful.

There are two secrets to understanding how to not get sucked into this yelling trap.

  1. Give yourself a framework for having these conversations, and;
  2. Understanding how your partner communicates.

The Recipe/Framework for a De-Escalating Arguments

To be frank, I bet you were never taught how to have an argument.

This is an important life skill that most people have never been taught nor learned how to master.

No wonder the world is full of fighting!

Imagine what it would do for your business if you knew the formula for having a fight which meant it didn’t escalate, didn’t get personal, got all the facts out to be considered with a level head and enabled a quick decision.

Having a heated argument is the best way to get quick, sound decisions… Said no-one ever.

Before I reveal some of the strategies we use with our clients and in our courses, can you please agree to one thing… If your partner starts doing this with you, respect their efforts and work with them to get an awesome outcome. OK? Good. Don’t try and use it against them

However, the most important component is to understand the concept of reflective thinking.

Put simply, reflective thinking is where you display empathy and engage the other person on a basis that helps them feel heard. Now for some of you, this may sound hard, however, there is one hack that will make this easy and turn around your conversations.

This hack is….

Once your partner has told you something, you then say:

“I think what you are saying is [insert what you heard]”

If you say this back to your partner before you answer / make any other comment / do anything else, you will definitely change the escalation of any argument and diffuse it quickly.

So all you have to remember is the simple 7-words of  “I think what you are saying is…”

Super easy, right?  Now go and give this a try.

Once you have mastered that, try adding another 7 words into your bag of tricks by saying:

“I think what you mean is….”

Be careful though — don’t rush in too quickly. This is tricky stuff, but with this handy hack, it can revolutionize your conversations at work (and maybe even at home).

Could you use some proven strategies to create clear communication with your partner? On May 22-23 we’re hosting a two-day, hands-on workshop on the Gold Coast that’s all about ramping up your communication. Email us here or schedule a call to find out more. 

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About the Author

Edward is the Co-Founder and Lead Strategist at the Institute for Couples in Business. When he’s not nutting out smart strategies you’ll find him hanging out with wife and business partner Rebecca and his sons Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Ed has been working with business owners to double profits, halve hours and build self-sustaining business that thrives with or without you. Ed is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and a sought-after guest speaker who often gets mistaken for Prince Harry.