As we discussed last week, oftentimes we become frustrated when others do not behave as we expect. As I noted, we are at fault if we continue to expect things of a person that we know he/she cannot provide. Sometimes this is due to their innate abilities and approaches to life. Other times, however, it is due to our failure to effectively communicate with them.
Quite often when I speak to individuals about directly communicating with others, they immediately reject the notion. Why? Because many people believe that direct communication and confrontation are one and the same. Therefore, they continue to withhold information, expect others to read their minds and to maintain the same point of view as do they, and then increasingly resent them when this does not happen. But when you learn to communicate effectively, you can then help people to learn more about you and your expectations as you also learn more about them and theirs, likely producing a better outcome. So, how do you learn specific communication skills? There are several great options available to you.
Dalton Kehoe, Ph.D. created a video lecture series, Effective Communication, in conjunction with The Great Courses. The series consists of twenty-four thirty minute lectures. This lecture series includes:
- The Magic of Everyday Communication
- The Complex Layers of Face-to-Face Talk
- The Social Context That Shapes Our
- The Operations of the Cognitive Unconscious
- The Conscious Mind in Perception
- The Conscious Mind in Using Language
- The Conscious Mind and Emotion
- The Development of Our Sense of Self
- Self, Attachment, and Self-Esteem
- Protecting the Self in Face-to-Face Talk
- Conscious Self-Talk and Self-Management
- Challenges to Effective Communication
- Talking to Connect and Build Relationships
- Differences, Disagreement, and Control Talk
- Commands, Accusations, and Blame
- Healing Relationships with Dialogue Talk
- Focus on the Other—The Heart of Dialogue
- Assertive Dialogue to Manage Disagreement
- Compassionate Confrontation
- Communication, Gender, and Culture
- Talking Our Way to Lasting Relationships
- Leadership, Appreciation, and Productivity
- Dialogue and Appreciation—Engaged Employees
- Dialogue—Ethical Choices behind Our Talk
Offered for purchase by The Great Courses, this lecture series can also be rented from various libraries.
Coming at the same topic from a different angle, we turn to the wisdom and experience of Thích Nhất Hạnh, who addresses these issues in his book, The Art of Communicating. As described by the publisher, “In this precise and practical guide, Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh reveals how to listen mindfully and express your fullest and most authentic self. With examples from his work with couples, families, and international conflicts, The Art of Communicating helps us move beyond the perils and frustrations of misrepresentation and misunderstanding to learn the listening and speaking skills that will forever change how we experience and impact the world.”
The book is readily available online and in book stores and, as are all books written by Thích Nhất Hạnh, is relevant and easy to read and understand.