How to Stop Arguing and Start Communicating
"We all have a fundamental need to be understood."
- James McPartland
Have you ever been in an argument with someone? Have you ever felt the feeling of frustration starting to boil?
Ever notice the way our voice will start to creep up an octave when anxiety comes upon us in a conversation? This happens as a result of feeling like the other person just isn’t understanding us.
It is a basic human value to be understood, a value we often miss prioritizing in our daily conversations. We want to be loved and know we measure up, and when we don’t feel that way we get upset.
And just like that, the friendly conversation we were just having quickly turns into an argument.
One of the basic fundamentals to being a good communicator and listener is to seek first to understand. If you are able to do this in conversation, then you will fulfill your own need to be understood and become more connected to the individual you are communicating with.
A key practice of active listening and becoming a better communicator is to listen first, then ask clarifying questions. When you feel there is a pause in the conversation or a sentence is completed, begin asking questions to better understand.
Types of questions to ask:
“How did you come to this conclusion?”
“How does that situation make you feel?”
“Can you say more about what you know about that situation?”
“Have you always believed that?”
“I'd like to know the basis for why you believe as you do.”
“This is what I heard you say. Can you help me clarify what you actually meant?”
“Tell me more about that.”
Even if we don’t agree with what the speaker is saying, making sure we fully understand where the person is coming from, helping them to feel more connected. If we open up our minds and receive the message the individual is trying to get across, it's amazing what we might learn about them.
More importantly, it's amazing what we might learn about ourselves.