4. Do learn each other's timing preferences for communication. If you really think about it, you probably know the best time your partner is most open to communication and when they are most unavailable. Share your timing preferences with each other and commit to respecting them.
5. Don't beat the iron when it's hot. When it comes to communication, hot emotions that get in the way almost always lead to saying those words we immediately wish we could take back.
6. Do cool down and practice my SOBS technique. Stop what you are doing. Observe the situation from a sensory standpoint. What am I feeling? Breathe in at least 10 deep breaths. Ask yourself "So what?" Is this battle really worth it or can you let go? Would you rather be right or happy?
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7. Don't go it alone when you have a real communication breakdown. When a communication breakdown has taken hold do not rely on friends and family for advice and suggestions. As well intended as they may be, or not, they are neither neutral nor qualified to help you take the needed steps for improving communication.
8. Do seek the support of a coach sooner than later. A coach can help you take a look at the bigger picture, keep you on track and hold you accountable for reaching your communication goals. You'd be surprised at how you can turn poor communication around with the right tools and guidance when you take action quickly.
9. Don't be hard on yourself or your partner when it may not go as planned every time. Learning open, non-judgmental communication is a process that often requires skills and changing habits that don't happen overnight and there will be a lot of little signs along the way that communication is opening up.
10. Do make a list of indications and feelings that will let you know you're on track. Then celebrate your small victories together. Here is a fun tip that works in families and couples. Have a jar for keeping the notes of appreciation and acknowledgment of little successes. At the end of the week, take a look at them and then reward yourselves with a celebration of your successful steps.
There you have it. 10 dos and don'ts to make 2013 your year of Communication Evolution. Commit to getting started right now and then start celebrating your new habits by the end of the week!
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Here's to your Communication Evolution in 2013. Happy New Year!