*You Cannot NOT Communicate*
One of the most valuable realizations I have come to in life is that nearly all problems - at work and at home - arise from some form of miscommunication. Think about it. How many employees feel like their bosses just don't understand their efforts? How many employers feel like their employees are missing the vision? How many parents, spouses, or coworkers, feel like they are carrying an unfair share of the burden? How many children, spouses, or employees, feel they are held to unfair expectations? How many of us are feeling misunderstood yet don't want to take the time calrify the situation? How many of us prefer to just ignore it, stay frustrated, and remain in our stance of "victim"? The only thing that could possibly improve any of these predicaments, is clarification. Why do we think it is easier to hold it in?
"You Cannot NOT Communicate." This is one of the NLP Presuppositions. Even when you do not address the issue - you are still communicating. We communicate through body language, through touch, through looks, through attentiveness, through action taken or not taken, through attitude, through countless ways other than language. Every absence of a response is in fact, communication. If we recognize the fact that we are communicating anyway, even by choosing not to address it, it seems like it would follow logically to want to clarify what we are saying! When we communicate through non-response we are infinitely more likely to be misunderstood or ill-received, and we receive no clarification from the other parties. We are resigned to our assumptions about the way things are and the absence of possible solutions.
Which leads me to another NLP Presupposition. - "The meaning of communication is the response you get." The meaning is not what you intend to say. Say I am angry at a coworker because I feel like I am doing the brunt of the work. There are several ways I could handle this. I could not address it at all but most likely become distant, hostile, or indifferent in my interactions with them basically inviting them to respond to me with the same hostility even though they likely have no idea where it began creating a negative environment all around. I could stop doing the work and get even angrier when they don't start doing it. I could yell at them, causing them to feel defensive and resistant to any idea of how to change the situation. I could ignore it all together, causing them to think everything is fine the way it is. Or I could take the time to calmly and effectively communicate my perspective of the issue and then patiently and openly invite them to share theirs without telling them they are wrong or lazy or anything else insulting in the process. The latter would most likely get me a better response. The response is what we are looking for. If you are not getting the response you want, you need to alter your way of communicating!
How do we do this? How do we talk to people in a way that encourages a positive response and helps move us toward a solution? First, we have to be aware of yet another presupposition. "The map is not the territory." We may all be in the same building, but we are each looking out our own window. Slightly different parts of the yard, road, fence are visible from each window. When I respond, I am responding to the view from my window, not what is actually outside, just what I can see. We respond to our personal experience of the situation, not the reality of the situation. When we communicate we have to be prepared to share our view and be open to consider what the view might be from someone else's window. We have to acknowledge that other windows exist and accept them as valid. We are never going to fully understand someone else's window as described because the frame is different, but we can seek to identify similarities and open the perspective to create a new window of understanding that is win-win for all parties involved.
The key to creating that new window is persuasive communication. No, we are not trying to manipulate anyone and in order for this to work we have to be willing compromise and leave the comfort of our own window as well. The goal is creating a new shared window that is beneficial to all. Sometimes a little bit of agreement goes a long way. Find a way to agree with the other point of view, align yourself with it, and then suggest possible ways to improve the situation. Be open to their suggestions as well. Try sayin, "I agree" with this part of what you are saying, "and" I think this action might help us with that. Ask what they think. Listen. Try again. Always say "and", never say "but" and make an effort to keep your language positive and focused on the outcome. Identify shared benefits, and you will be able to lead each other to possible solutions. There are several other NLP Presuppositions that can be helpful to navigate everyday life. There are also other linguistic frames that when implemented can totally transform your communications. I think this is a good place to start. In my opinion, the most powerful tool we have to broaden our perspective and begin changing the way we perceive our reality, is open and effective communication. It allows us to let go of assumptions and release the negative emotions that rise from them. It allows us to reach a better understanding from which better action can be taken. "You cannot NOT communicate," so you may as well clarify your response. When problems arise, communication is often the most direct path to finding a solution and creating change.