Years ago, I read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. One of those agreements is the following: “Say what you mean, mean what you say and honor your word”. That has become the motto of our men’s’ group.
Honouring your word is everything. Think about it.
If you say that you will be on time and you are, life is simple. If you say you are going to take out the garbage and do it, no problem. When you mean what you say, you are honest and precise with the word. When you say what you mean, you are integral. And when you honor your word, you are trustworthy. Now, who doesn’t want that in a relationship?
Honour is a relationship savior, do the right thing. Again, years ago in my previous career, I asked the Psychologist at work “what is the best advice you can give,” to which he replied, “always make decisions you can live with“.
Now, imagine dying with no regrets. Wouldn’t that be great? If we think before acting, and ask ourselves that question, we can save a lot of grief.
The problem is that conversations with people we know well are sometimes tainted by experience. When we speak to someone, there is lots going on… What we think we said, what they heard, what message we thought we sent, what message they thought they received, what they thought we meant, what they perceived we meant and so on, so forth.
Those of you in relationships might have heard once or twice “that’s not what I said” or “you know what I meant” or “I said that, but you know I didn’t mean it.” Combined with cadence, tone and of course non-verbal behavior which is the biggest part of communicating. Maybe you have experienced the look, at the same time as hearing the words “Go ahead. Do what you want,” knowing full well, yup, I better not !
Other things that are important in conversation are asking for what you want. The Aladdin factor, a book written by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson–you might know these guys from the chicken soup for the soul series– remind us that to get what you want, you ask for it. Imagine walking into a restaurant and have waiter guess what you want? It would get complicated right? So, in your relationships, personal, work, or other it is important be clear on what you want and expect.
And finally, a little acronym that helps keep gossip down (a not so good form of communication) Before you speak T.H.I.N.K. = ask yourself -is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary and is it Kind? If you do all of this, your ability to communicate clearly should improve. Give it a try!