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Effective Communication and Value Alignment in Effective Relationships

Effective communication is essential for a relationship to grow & function successfully. Being a good communicator requires effective listening & understanding. Clear communication requires our words, tone of voice & body language to be congruent & reflect the true meaning of our message. Communication is comprised of three key components:
- Words make up only 15% of a message
- Tone of voice makes up 35% of a message
- Body language makes up 50 % of a message

Communication is the conveying of thoughts, feelings, opinions, ideas and information. It is the means of sending messages to one another. Effective communication depends on the clarity and delivery success, as well as how it’s received and understood.

Categories of communication:

1. Information Exchange
 Imparting & gathering information
 Matter of fact & straightforward talking
2. Persuasive Communication
 Trying to convince someone to change their mind or move their position
 Marked by passion, emotion & persistence
3. Motivational Communication
 Motivating someone to get involved, work harder or care more
 Marked by emotion & animation (but not trying to change their mind)
4. Problem-Solving Communication
 Facing a problem or crisis & approaching it as a team
5. Connection Communication
 Connecting or relating to someone in a meaningful & emotional way.

Key points in effective communication:
‘The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said’
– Peter Drucker

• Be AWARE of the other person’s feelings
• RESPECT the other person’s point of view
• Be CONFIDENT about what you are saying
• COMMIT to your point of view
• IDENTIFY the main issues at hand
• FOCUS on one point at a time
• Be HONEST in your approach
• Conclude the communication session with HARMONY
• Never compromise your INTEGRITY just to win an argument
• Trust & follow your INTUITION
• Don’t be judgemental, but rather UNDERSTANDING
• Seek first to UNDERSTAND then to be understood
• It is not only WHAT you say but HOW you say it
• Learn to LISTEN and listen to LEARN
• Say what you mean and MEAN what you say
• Agree to disagree
• Do not constantly remind the other person of past mistakes
• Only argue over things that matter
• Use HUMOUR in your communication
• Speak only 2 sentences at a time & KEEP IT SHORT

Effective relationship habits:

• Be Proactive
 Become an agent of positive change in your relationship
 Make more deposits into the ‘emotional bank account’ than withdrawals
• Prioritise
 Put first things first and make your relationship a priority
 Ensure that the infrastructure of your relationship is solid
• Establish meaningful rituals & traditions
 Create a sense of security & peace in your relationship
 Establish set boundaries
 Promote rhythm in your relationship
• Think ‘Win-Win’
 Move from ‘me’ to ‘we’
 Come up with solutions which are mutually beneficial
 Solve problems through empathic communication
 Get on the same page
• Synergise
 Build unity through valuing & celebrating differences
 Creative team work & cooperation

Effective listening skills:
‘When people talk, listen completely’
– Ernest Hemingway

• Listening unblocks hearing
• Attend when listening
• Be aware of body language
• Recognise how emotions effect listening & responding
• Use open body position
• Maintain eye contact during the entire conversation
• Do not interrupt
• Remember the purpose of listening
• Encourage them to tell you how they feel
• Use door openers & acknowledgements
• Reflect back facts & feelings

Characteristics of effective relationships:                                                               ‘The relationship is the communication bridge between people’
– Alfred Kadushin

• Being perceived by the other person as trustworthy, dependable & consistent
• Being expressive enough as a person to communicate unambiguously
• Experience positive attitudes (e.g. warmth, caring, liking, interest, respect) towards the other person
• Being strong enough as a person when separated from the other person
• Being secure enough within oneself to permit the other person’s separateness
• See & feel the world as the other person does
• Accept each facet of the other person as presented by them
• Act with sufficient sensitivity in the relationship
• Keep the relationship free of judgements and evaluation
• Meet the other person as an individual who is in the process of becoming
• Do not be bound by the past.

Values:                                                                                                                           ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are’
– Roy Disney

• Values are aspects that really matter to each of us
• Values are subjective ideas and beliefs we hold as special
• Personal Values provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, constructive, etc.
• Our values are learnt at home, at school, in the community, at Church, from family, friends & peers
• We all have different set of values
• Values are formed during three significant periods:
1. Imprint period from birth to 7 years
2. Modelling period from 8 –13 years
3. Socialization period from 13 –21 years
• Types of Values include:
 – Ethical/moral
 – Doctrinal/ideological
 – Social
 – Cultural
 – Aesthetic

Value alignment for effective relationships:     

  • Define personal & relationship/family values
  • Recognising values provide answers to questions of why we do what we do and in what order we choose to do them
  • Recognise value collisions
  • Most conflicts in relationships is due to clashes of personal values.
  • We resist & resent attempts by others to impose their values on us
  • Resolve value collisions
  • Some values get changed as a result of new information & knowledge, new experiences & the influence of people we admire & respect
  • Agree to differ while you respect and celebrate each other’s values


Ida Soghomonian
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