©2019 by The Greater You Leadership Series.

 
  • Christin Webb

Mutual Communication


Communication is the thread to cohesive relationships, problem resolution, and more. Without communicating effectively, that thread can easily be the weakest link to success. Mutual communication is the pathway to effective communication and problem resolution. Mutual communication occurs when all parties choose to understand the message of the other party clearly. It does not mean they agree with the other's message, but they want to digest and understand their message. Some problems are often not resolved because all parties have chosen not to come to an understanding of the other party's message. What if? Just, what if, opposing views were intentionally addressed through a choice of understanding all the messages involved. How do you do that? Here are a few tips:

  1. Listen. Talking is easy. Writing is easy. Hearing is easy. Listening can be hard but is key to mutual communication. One quick way to reduce chances of successful communication is to choose not to listen. Mutual communication primarily happens because all parties utilized their listening skills. Listening is often viewed as being more important than talking. Start with this when beginning the journey towards mutual communication.

  2. Remove the Personal. When faced with an opposing view, understand the message, and detach the message from you. It can be hard to understand someone else's viewpoint if we feel their view includes our person as part of the basis of the view. Listen to what is being said and remove the emotion of how it makes you feel. The exclusion of the feeling immediately makes the message more clear.

  3. Be Patient. Clear messaging and understanding will not always happen overnight. Heck, it practically never does. The path to understanding is a patient one and requires you to be willing to put in the work. The path may require multiple conversations or several days of no messaging so that everything can be processed naturally and fluidly. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and sometimes neither is mutual communication.

  4. Ask Questions? Sometimes getting to the point of mutual communication requires clarification. You may feel that you are offering all the right information to help the other party gain an understanding of your message, but there may still be something missing. If you find yourself in this situation, ask them if they understand. Offer more and more until you know they understand. If you are on the other end and can not quite reach a level of understanding, ask the other party questions. Help them make it clear for you.

  5. Understand Your Own Message. There is nothing worse than trying to get someone to understand a message, and the messenger does not clearly understand their message. Before you decide to work towards mutual communication, know precisely what you are trying to relay. Know the apparent pros and cons of your point. Not only does this help you best prepare to share your message, but knowing the disadvantages will help you understand why the other party does not quite believe in your message.

  6. Accept the Impasse. Mutual communication does not mean that all parties will agree with each other. It merely means that there is a respectable point of understanding the other person's message. It can lead to agreements, but be prepared that it will not always happen. Yet, even in an impasse, mutual communication can occur. If nothing else, remember, tip #2. Just because there is an impasse does not mean at a later date an agreement is not possible.


With all of these tips, practice makes perfect. The good thing to know is that as long as humans are attempting to communicate, the need for mutual communication will always exist! So... keep practicing and threading!

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