It’s a fact; lack of effective communication is a leading cause of divorce, and the breakdown of relationships between parents and children as well as between employees and their employers. There is no doubt that communication in all types of relationships can make or break them, but changing how we relate to one another is easier said than done.
This is because of inherited or past communication patterns that can quickly lead to hurt feelings or emotional disconnection. What’s more, most people don’t have the knowledge, skills, or the time to invest in changing how they behave.
We learn how to behave from our families and our environment; but this does not necessarily teach us how to communicate appropriately so that the people we are communicating with as well as ourselves feel heard, seen, and valued. Having spent over 3 decades in behavior and communication research I can share with you first-hand that communication can truly "make" a relationships by giving the other person what they need in the exchange, or "break" the relationship by alienating them and ourselves from the relationship.
More and more we are seeing in business and in health care a new emphasis on re-learning how we can better express ourselves and listen to others in all areas of our lives. Corporations and leaders in the field are also recognizing that good communication is good business in that it improves the work culture, reduces errors, improves morale, decreases sick time and attrition, and creates a more productive work environment and social culture.
Being able to communicate well is an essential quality to success on all levels. Sadly this is not emphasized in schools and the type of communication skills that are typically taught to adults is how to win an argument, how to get what you want from others, or how "to be number one." None of these skills are things that do create healthy and win-win relationships, but rather create one sided or "one-up" control relationships.
There are many excellent studies out there and well written books that can show you the benefits from changing how you communication to others in your life.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio
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