Being emotionally engaged is not about love or loudness. It’s about having a deep discussion where everyone feels heard. Things around you will go much better, whatever the situation, when you are able to talk to others without causing—or feeling—stress. Try doing the following to improve your communication.
1. Identify your feelings. Knowing how you feel can be tricky. For example, depression manifests as anxiety 65 percent of the time. Don’t just go with your first emotional rush, stay with it for a few minutes and get in touch with what you really feel.
2. Share your true emotions. When you speak from your heart, the other person feels it and your message will get through to him or her.
3. Feel the fire, but don’t get burned. If something really excites you or makes you angry, it is best to not display feelings that may make someone else uncomfortable. Share your exhilaration or ire with words, not volume.
4. Ask for a response. Sometimes people won’t answer your questions or acknowledge your feelings. If they don’t and you want some input from them, ask for it.
5. Find a safe place where you can vent. If you have negative emotions that you need to release, find and a person you trust to talk with. Releasing your feelings will help you gain clarity on what the real issues are and then you can discuss them like an adult.
6. Never assume how someone else feels. If you are not absolutely sure, then ask. When you know what’s going on emotionally, you can tailor your conversation to make it helpful (or at least not hurtful).
7. Make the dialogue meaningful. If both of you are really getting something from talking, it’s going to make this discussion a potent one and future conversations much easier.
8. Accept that you may not feel great afterwards. Not every conversation will end the way you want it to. You may not get what you want, or you may have to have another chat, and you will be sitting with some feelings that may be uncomfortable.
9. Speak how you want to be spoken to. Doing so will set the tone for the entire conversation. If you start out with an attack, you could end up in a war. If you begin with kindness and clarity, you will have a much easier time dealing with the problem.
10. If you don’t get what you need, get help. If you can’t make progress by yourself, bring in a third party. If you’re having an issue at work, the other person can be from the office or even an outside consultant. Or if it’s a personal issue, find a good counselor. Most times an objective listener can guide everyone involved to a common resolution.
Miscommunication is the number one reason most people don’t get along. Whether it’s from a lack of understanding or something misspoken, you can use your emotions to help you heal the hurt with a thoughtful conversation.