Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How to Communicate

How to  Not Be Opinionated
Tom was known as being opinionated, often expressing his views in a rather overbearing manner. Others who may have agreed with him may have wanted to respond but he didn’t give them a chance. Tom made his statement in a way that precluded any further discussion. “I’ve had my say and that about covers it,” appeared to be his attitude, “Nothing more needs to be said.”

Sam, who disagreed with him, took the bait, expressing an apposite view in an equally aggressive way. Neither heard the other and neither learned a thing. They both became hostile and agitated and, possibly, experienced a rise in blood pressure. The hostility was nothing more than fear, the great barrier to effective communication.

How do you know when you are being opinionated? When you confuse what is simply your opinion or belief with what is fact. Opinions and beliefs change; facts do not. Why not try to present your opinions and beliefs as what they are, not as facts? They go down easier.

Opinion: That’s a boring class.
Fact or belief: I’m bored with that class.

Opinion: MacArthur was a bloodthirsty general.
Fact or belief: My college professor said that MacArthur was blood thirsty general.

Opinion: God doesn’t care about us as individuals and doesn’t get involved in our daily lives.
Fact or belief: I don’t believe that God cares about me individually or follows me in my daily life.

Here are some examples of ways to express your opinion without being offensive:
“It is my opinion that…”
“I’ve been thinking…”
“I was reading the other day about…”

If you tend to throw your opinion around, try to be more of a listener. Instead of stating an opinion right off the bat, try asking about the other person’s views first.
Here are some examples:
“What to you think about…”
“I’ve been wondering about…What do you think?”
“Have you heard about…?”

When you discuss issues, what is your goal, to gain an understanding, or to win an argument?

Be careful; by listening, you may learn something, or even change your mind!

Telling equals talking.
Asking equals listening.
If you are doing more telling than asking,
you are doing more talking than listening.

love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

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