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The Way We Say Things Matters

Is your communication nonviolent?

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The history of communication itself can be traced back since the origin of speech circa 500,000 BCE – from primitive times, to petroglyphs, to pictograms, to ideograms, to writing – the common theme has always been storytelling.

Throughout history, we’ve seen that what people say and how they communicate can either inspire people or destroy them. A great communicator creates emotional, real and personal connections, executed through humility and empathy. A great communicator is vulnerable showing his/her fears, challenges and sincerity – this is why they are so impactful, and have substance and meaning behind their words. They are organized and speak with clarity.

We should all prioritize how we communicate because whether you’re at the dinner table with family or presenting in front of colleagues, the way we say things matters.

It is important to make a conscious effort when it comes to how you communicate, since it sets the tone of the environment that you are in. The key is to ensure positivity flows freely between everyone involved in the conversations. Here’s a simple example taken from a book called Nonviolent Communication:

Instead of saying “Violence is bad“, try saying “I’m fearful of the use of violence to resolve conflict“.

The way you say things matters.

So, while you are communicating, focus on ensuring that you are doing so while avoiding the following:

  1. Engaging in moralistic judgement: wrong vs bad
  2. Making comparisons
  3. Making demands

And more importantly – listen more than you speak! Believe it or not, doing so really does work by giving you the ability to observe and then evaluate versus observing & evaluating at the same time. Here’s an example:

“Doug procrastinates” versus “Doug only studies for exams the night before”.

Once again, the way you say things matters. Doug may not agree with the first statement; however, Doug may agree with the second without feeling the need to react in his defense. 

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