Problems come up in any relationship. Whether professional, familial, in friendship or in romance, there will always be bumps in the road and, unless we address them, they will turn into major issues. While most of us seem to understand this in theory, we may not realize that we’re not actually doing it. Dr. Jenn Berman on SiriusXM’s Oprah Radio spoke about this issue and gave three tips to help you keep the dialogue open with everyone in your life.

“Sometimes we think about ourselves as someone who ‘Oh yeah, anyone can talk to me and I make myself available,” Dr. Jenn said. “But we don’t realize that we’re intimidating or we’re not receptive or we’re doing things that prevent people close to us both in business and in our personal lives from feeling comfortable talking about difficult things.”

Here are her three tips to help you improve your difficult conversations with those close to you:

  1. Be receptive. “Being receptive means being willing to have the conversations, being encouraging when someone comes to you … to really understand those power dynamics and to understand it’s scary for people to talk to you.”
  2. Establish communication before the problems arise. “Make sure you set an understanding among the people who you are working with, hanging out with, in a relationship with that ‘hey, we talk about stuff. I encourage stuff to be worked through, to be talked about.’”
  3. Seek to understand as opposed to change the other person’s mind. “When we get caught up in ‘you’re wrong, I’m right,’ we lose the communication … Look to understand why this person is thinking this way,” Dr. Jenn said.

Listen for a full explanation of Dr. Jenn’s tips so you can open yourself up for better communication in the future.

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