Communication is, with all the internationalization & globalization of economies nowadays getting more and more important. A miscommunication is easily made and not all feelings about what is said are expressed as it is not always socially acceptable. It can be hard to win the trust of people who are very different than you, yet everyone is unique to his or her own culture and experiences.
Reasons for wrong going communication,
- Different culture; there are many different cultures in the world, from ghetto to political
- Different background ; the country and location you have grown up, from the USA to Indonesia
- Different education; from a practical construction worker education to a lawyer's education
- Different belief; someone's conviction; there are various forms of religion, spirituality, spiritual groups and self study books
- Different life experiences - if you had a rough youth it is different than when you had an easy one. Nevertheless each experience and life story is a valuable one
- Different social group; the setting where you spend daily time in, such as friends, family, work society, hobby club
- Different interests & motivations; every person has different interests & deeper underlying motivations that you cannot see except by empathy and compassion, like having a good conversation with asking sincere questions and really listening
Communication can be improved by for example,
- Approaching/ making contact - even if you just say a friendly hello and walk by it can work positively
- Asking questions - 'Tell me something about x'. This shows interest in the other person
- Compassion - sympathise with the difficult experiences and stories of others. Do not be cold and aloof
- Complimenting - 'I see you have…x…that looks nice and colourful'. Almost everyone likes a compliment
- Dare to give your opinion - do be confident and intruiging. You can make statements, but be careful about mentioning 'tension topics'
- Defining the terms - not assuming every word or phrase means the same to another person
- Focus on 'we' instead of 'I' - of course you can tell about yourself, but not only about you
- Give respect - if you do not respect someone's boundaries by for example be pushy, rules-lawyering or overpowering, it will not make the other person feel valued. You may have to tone yourself down a little
- Learning a little about the other's background - this makes the other person feel more familiar with you
- Listening - letting the other finish what he has to say and reacting to that
- Naming/ focusing on similarities - finding common ground helps. 'oh really, that is nice! We too believe in … name it'
- Sharing personal emotions & stories - 'I feel about the way I believe because in my youth …etc'
- Be a good caretaker - trust is not only in the big things, but also in the little details
- Avoid criticizing - do not speak very negatively, even if what the other person says is very strange to you. Rather ask what he or she means and why he believes in that. If you do criticise, bring it positively
- Avoid generalizing - no one likes to be labeled or categorized