Building Trust in Relationships: Developing Communication Skills


I was thinking about communication skills and reading through one of Alana's answers on resolving conflict. Wow, what incredibly wise words. I used to avoid most conflict situations like the plague. Perhaps you can relate. I don't avoid conflicts anymore. I don't seek them out either. And you know what? It's taken me a LOT of work and support to get to this place (and I have a long way to go).

As you may know, there are basically two responses to conflict: fight or flight (two sides of the same coin) and nonviolent communication. When you fight, you play the aggressor. When you take flight, you play the victim. Same dance and different roles. That's how the win-lose duality works. Fight or flight is about "power over". Even the victim position is a power game since the idea is to win by making the aggressor feel guilty. Nonviolent communication is about "power with". Fight or flight is about fear which motivates attempts to control people, places, and things. It's about right-wrong, good-bad, and true-false. This is the domain of judgment.

Our askAlana.com work is the domain of heart--a way to acknowledge, understand, honor, and use the energy of judgment for transformation. If you choose to learn heart-based conflict resolution communication skills, you can transform your personal life and business dealings. No question about it. And...be prepared to work to develop new skills; abilities that are available to you when you're under pressure and stress. Knowledge is not a magic pill. You have to take knowledge about communication another step, and cultivate the capacity to communicate nonviolently while under pressure. Learning to communicate effectively is a life-long practice. I feel it's worth the courage and effort required. How about you?

If you are looking for another resource to learn about non-violent communication you might benefit from the work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. He is a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. This organization is an international nonprofit organization that teaches peacemaking skills across five continents, including a number of war-torn areas such as Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Colombia, Serbia, Croatia, and Northern Ireland.

Even though his vision and work is vast, don't be intimidated to check out his methods. His book, "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values" is just that. He also provides a companion notebook.

If you need a good book on how to build nonviolent communication skills? This is one of my favorites.

By Kirk