The Benefit to Great Family Communication is Trust

The other day I was walking away from my car and towards the front door of my office building. As I approached the door, in the wide walkway there was a group of about eight women standing in the wide walkway. They seemed to be waiting for a van to pick them up. While they were waiting for the van to show up, they were talking in excited pitches and volumes. I smiled at the group of women as I passed them. I couldn’t help but wonder as I walked past the voices talking at the same time with eyes gazing up the driveway and hands on their mobile devices. I wondered if anyone heard what was actually being said.  The business of the scene made me ask the question: “Who’s listening when we are all talking?”

Now, shift the setting to a family gathering. How often are the conversations such that they are more than casual, where everyone is engaged in one conversation and where people are actually listening to each other without interruption? 

Communication for a long lasting family has to include a framework where the three keys to trusted communication are added. 

 The first key is clear intention as to the purpose of the subject as well as its outcome is known.  This allows for a sense of relief for the participants. The subject and its intended outcome are known rather than springing a subject with hidden innuendos thrown out for quick resolution. 

The second key is to use active listening. Active listening means that the listener has to actually hear what the talker is saying without leap to judgment or conclusion. Active listening requires understanding the intention of the speaker rather than jumping to a quick response

The third key is the willing environment. How have you felt when you have been called to a meeting rather than agreed to a meeting? When participants are part of the conversation rather than objects to it, participants feel more relaxed and ‘heard.’ 

This all leads to a deeper sense of trust among family members. This trust is the result of clear, empathetic and willing communication. Trust keeps families together. Try it, you’ll like it.

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