Many of us are not aware of how we are communicating and interacting with bosses, colleagues, friends and family. We are so busy and eager to get our point across. Here are some tips on how to slow down the process and be more effective on the interpersonal skills scale. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that it is ALL about communication.
What do you do if you interrupt frequently?
You usually get very excited to share your ideas and often may not realize that interrupting might be annoying to other people who are trying to speak to you. (I do this all the time!) One trick is to let people know that you are well-aware of the fact that you have the tendency to interrupt as in saying something like: "I know I have the tendency to interrupt and am in no way trying to be rude. Reality is that I really want to hear what you are saying, and sometimes can't process the information as quickly as I am hearing it." On a more practical note, try to let other people finish their sentences before you start speaking, as challenging as it is sometimes for many of us. Be a good listener, and remember that most of the time you will get your chance to speak in the end anyway.
What do you do if don't think before you speak?
If you tend to speak before being clear in your own mind about what your point is, how you want to say it, and what the outcome is that you are attempting to accomplish, you might want to consider this before having the conversation.
Literally stop and ask yourself: "What do I want to happen as a result of having this conversation?" Once you are clear on what your goal is (i.e. what you want to accomplish) you can then think about what you need to say, and/or ask for in order to get what you want.
What happens when you say things that you wish you could take back?
If you say something you wish you could take back, it's OK to go back to the person and ask again for clarification. For example, you might say "I have been thinking about our conversation and realize that I didn't quite say what I meant to say when I said XYZ." This will create the opening for new dialogue. Be prepared and sure that you have thought through what happened and what you want to say differently this time around.
What happens when you jump into serious discussions, issues or arguments without having all the facts first?
The less impulsive you are, the better. Easier said than done for sure sometimes. The best thing to do is hit the pause button. Wait until you have fully thought through the issue and have all of the facts before having any conversation that could become contentious (either personally or professionally). Review in your mind what you know about the issue. Separate fact from speculation, and speak only to the facts. If you find that most of what you "know" is speculation, you need to gather more information before you can have an intelligent opinion on the issue. Start asking questions to find out more. This will help you avoid having emotionally-charged interactions as opposed to productive, constructive conversation.
It is all about being conscious, and always learning new ways of being and doing.
Have a productive day, and remember to stop, pause and think at least once.
It works. It really does.