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You Need To Listen Hard To Resolve Arguments

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Communication

You Need To Listen Hard To Resolve Arguments

Ever notice how quickly a conversation between you and your partner can go downhill with just a few poorly chosen words?

Are your conversations a war of words or a test of silence?

Well, there are ways to repair and restore great communication. The following demonstrates how.

FOR MEN ONLY: John, a 43-year-old management consultant, and his wife Doris, a 39-year-old illustrator, had been growing distant because of a breakdown in communication. One day during a non-conflicted time, John took Doris aside and looked at her firmly, but tenderly, and asked her, “Doris, have I ever made you feel that you were not worth listening to?” With that, Doris’ eyes teared up at this show of concern and interest from John.

When her body language, more than her words, indicated that he probably had made her feel that way on many occasions, John persisted and said, “Doris, look at me, please. Just because I don’t know how to listen to you in the right way doesn’t mean you are not worth listening to. Don’t let anyone, including me, ever make you feel that you are not worth listening to, because you are, and I’m sorry if I have made you feel that way.”

Now Doris was receptive to John, so things went well. However, if you try this with your wife and she jumps down your throat with, “Of course that’s true. You’re one of the worst listeners I know!” don’t be discouraged. Take a deep breath and reply: “I know. That’s why I’m apologizing for it now. You don’t deserve to be ignored like that.” Chances are she’ll become calmer and, one or two days later, may apologize for her hostile retort and even thank your for your gesture.

FOR WOMEN ONLY: Another example involves Nancy, a 51-year-old mother of two grown children, and her husband Ted, a 53-year-old plumber. As in the above example, they had grown distant due to a breakdown in communication. One day, Nancy took Ted aside, looked him straight in the eye and asked him: “Ted, have I ever made you feel that I don’t respect you or admire you or that I have stopped thinking that you’re the greatest guy I know and I’m lucky to have you in my life?”

Needless to say, Ted was dumbfounded and speechless, indicating, as in the previous example, that yes, Nancy had caused him to have exactly those negative feelings. Nancy persisted and continued: “Ted, just because I get stressed out and sometimes take it out on you, because you’re my safety valve, doesn’t mean I don’t thank my lucky stars for having you in my life. And I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel worse about yourself.”

Beginning a conversation this way works so well because when tension exists between you and someone else, the only thing that will not create more defensiveness is a sincere apology. Apologies also make the apologizing person feel better because it helps to thaw out coldness and bitterness in a relationship.

USABLE Insight: Love means always having to say (and mean) you’re sorry.

Authors’ Books and Kindle – Click for Amazon Reviews

Mark Goulston, M.D. is a business advisor, consultant, speaker, trainer and coach trained as a clinical psychiatrist who honed his skills as an FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone.

He is Co- Founder of Heartfelt Leadership whose Mission is: Daring to Care and Go Positive Now and is the Resident Big Brother at Business Women Rising and serves on the Board of Advisers of American Women Veterans and Dr. Oz’ foundation, Health Corps.

He is the author of international best selling book, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95) which has reached #1 at amazon kindle in six business categories, #1 in China and Germany , #1 in audible audiobooks and has been translated into fourteen languages. Dr. Goulston and his book was also a PBS special entitled “Just Listen with Dr. Mark Goulston.” His next book, REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, co-authored with Dr. John Ullment will be the lead book for the American Management Association in January, 2013 and will focus on influencing people in a post-selling world.

Dr. Goulston’s development of those skills started with his education: a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.D. from Boston University, post graduate residency in psychiatry at UCLA. He went on to be a professor at UCLA’s internationally renowned Neuropsychiatric Institute for more than twenty years, become a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2004-2005 and again in 2009 and 2011 by Washington, D.C. based Consumers’ Research Council of America.

A partial list of companies, organizations and universities he has trained, spoken to, provided executive coaching to or consulted with include: GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Deutsche Bank, Hyatt, Accenture, Astra Zenica, British Airways, Sodexo, ESPN, Kodak, Federal Express, YPO, YPOWPO India, Association for Corporate Growth, FBI, Los Angeles District Attorney, White & Case, Seyfarth Shaw, UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC, Pepperdine University.

He is or has been a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and is the best selling author of four prior books including the international best seller, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee, $13.95) Get Out of Your Own Way at Work…and Help Others Do the Same (Perigee, $14.95), is a contributor to Harvard Business, blogs for the Huffington Post, Business Insider writes the Tribune media syndicated column, Solve Anything with Dr. Mark, column on leadership for FAST COMPANY, Directors Monthly. He is frequently called upon to share his expertise with regard to contemporary business, national and world news by television, radio and print media including: Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/CNN/BBC News, Oprah, Today.

Dr. Goulston lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

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