Rethink Church
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Personal Development
Respectful communication: What does it take?

What do you do when your communication style doesn't match the person[s] you are trying to communicate with? It's rough. Frustration can ensue and hurtful words said.

Sometimes even the best communicators end up failing to hear each other. There are venters, explainers, screamers and others who you've probably encountered [or who have encountered you]. Faced with a mismatch in communication style, the chances of listening with an open mind are pretty slim.

So here's what you can do the next time you find yourself engaging in a difficult conversation, or with someone who communicates differently than you: RESPECT. Here's the breakdown, based on the work of Eric Law, at the Kaleidoscope Institute:

R – Responsibility. Take responsibility for what you say and feel.  Use “I” statements.

E – Empathetic listening. Use empathetic listening. Put yourself in other’s shoes. Don’t have to agree.
    Create a goal of mutual understanding.

S – Sensitive. Be sensitive to differences.  Some people talk stories. Some people give succinct points.
    Some people spiral around a topic.  Some people communicate through silence.

P – Ponder. Ponder what you hear and feel before you speak.

E – Examine. Examine you own assumptions and perceptions.

C – Confidentiality. Confidentiality is different than secrets. Share constructively to uphold the well-
    being of the community.  Individuals decide and speak.

T – Trust. Trust ambiguity we are not here to debate who is right or wrong.

We don't always know what people bring with them to a conversation. Past hurts, unsettled feelings and other experiences inform the ways we approach different conversations and people. The more we respect one another and practice empathy, the more we are able to listen and reconcile.

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