Getting To Yes

By

Getting To Yes
Most of us want a “yes” answer when we ask a question, so we want to ask the right question, at the

The average person pays more attention to what she’s saying or thinking about than what she is hearing, or how her words are “landing” on the other person. This self-involvement gets worse during an argument. You can become a much more effective communicator by using “attentive speaking” a simple and highly effective technique that will help you pay attention to how well you’re communicating, whether it’s with your partner, your children, or extended family, or co-workers.

“How am I supposed to know what he (she) wants?” is probably the most worried about question in relationships. Most people don’t want to be rejected, criticized or otherwise get the results of guessing wrong about what someone else wants. Most of us want a “yes” answer when we ask a question, so we want to ask the right question, at the right time, from the right person. The trouble is, how are we supposed to know what’s right?

Since most of our interaction happens through conversation, here’s a relatively simple technique that you can use with great success anytime the results of your interaction with someone really count. I call it “attentive speaking”, and what it’s really about is paying attention and not guessing about what the other person is thinking. No matter when you’re talking to other members of your family, your children or your spouse, using attentive speaking will help you reach an agreement.

Guidelines for Attentive Speaking

Attentive speaking simply means paying attention, not only to what you are saying, but also to how your partner is receiving it. If you watch carefully when you want to get a point across, your partner’s facial expression, body movements, and posture all will provide clues (looking interested, fidgeting, looking bored, eyes wandering, attempting to interrupt, facial expressions of anger or confusion, or a blank, empty stare) to help you know whether you are being understood. By using the following steps, you can learn to observe your partner as he or she is listening to you, and see whether you are successfully communicating what you want your partner to hear, without any verbal communication from your partner. This is especially effective if your partner:


• is not very talkative;
• thinks disagreeing, or objecting will "hurt your feelings";
• is the unemotional, strong, silent type;
• is easily overwhelmed in a discussion; or
• is passive, depressed, or withdrawn.

Sometimes, such partners are reluctant to let you know if they have a negative reaction to what you are saying. If your partner is not receiving what you are saying as you intended, and you persist in talking without understanding your partner’s reaction, your partner could become more and more upset by what you are saying, stop listening, get very confused, mentally object or silently argue with you, or not want to be talked to at all. If you don’t use attentive speaking to see the clues, you can be chattering blithely along, and suddenly your partner will react with anger, misunderstand you or just not be interested in listening any more, and all your efforts to communicate are wasted. By using guidelines that follow, you can figure out when you aren’t communicating well or getting the reaction you want.

Using attentive speaking will help you:
• Avoid overwhelming your partner with too much information at once, (because you will notice when he or she looks overwhelmed, bored or distracted)
• Keep your partner’s interest in what you have to say, (by teaching you how to ask a question when you see your partner’s attention slipping away)
• Understand when what you say is misunderstood, (by observing facial expressions and noticing when they’re different than what you expect)
• Gauge your partner’s reaction when he or she doesn’t say anything (by facial expressions, body language and attentiveness)
• tell when your partner is too distracted, stressed or upset to really hear what you’re saying (by facial expressions, body language and attentiveness)

Keep reading...

More Juicy Content From YourTango:

This article was originally published at Tina Tessina. Reprinted with permission from the author.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
562-438-8077
Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina
http://www.facebook.com/#!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/rar7RC
 

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Tina Tessina:

Dear Dr. Romance: You're giving advice on what YOU consider norma

By

Dear Dr. Romance: Thank you for your free articles, you have a lot of good stuff in there. A couple of the girls at work and I read your articles and get a good laugh. You're giving advice assuming that our lives are what YOU consider normal. You have a good job, make good money, live in a nice house, wear nice clothes, probably have good make-up, have ... Read more

Debunking Myths About Dating

By

I'm updating my book The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. The new version will be called Dr. Romance's Guide to Dating in the Digital Age. The following article is excerpted from the new book (edited). A lot of the problems that come up in Dating Again are generated by social expectations, (how other people think you should behave or things ... Read more

Who Are You Really Rescuing?

By

Dear Dr. Romance: I read your article about rescuing: Avoiding the Drama Triangle. I have been rescuing my mother from the big, bad wolf, my father. He would beat my mother, me and my sister. I decided to rescue her. She let me rescue her from her second husband, when she needed money, favors, grocery shopping and now health problems. As I ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB