Relationships are not difficult to sustain, provided there is open and honest communication between people. When each person understands how the other thinks and feels about specific topics, the relationship becomes more open and inclusive, making it simpler to sustain.
Communication is considered the key pillar of any relationship.
In the season four finale episode of Rant and Grow, Dr. Jim Van Allan, a professor of communication studies with Kaiser University, professional speaker, and author, talks about his love for communication, and shares his own journey.
Stop Being Lousy
As Jim speaks about what he had to go through to fall in love with communication, he recalls how his relationship with his father strained over the years because of poor communication. He observes that many parent-child relationships are ruined when the child reaches teenage years.
It happens because neither of them communicates what they feel, and that leads to misunderstandings. He decided that he didn’t want to be a lousy communicator like his dad was and started taking up courses related to interpersonal communication skills in college.
When we don’t learn to express ourselves in constructive ways, we end up having lousy relationships and it’s not because of the other person, that is on us as individuals.
“It just splintered our relationship and it just spiraled. You know, he never really dealt with it face-to-face. He never really said, hey, let’s talk about this.”
Deal with Your Insecurities
Everyone is dealing with insecurities and personal issues. It is what stops them from being themselves and communicate it to the world. They fear judgment, and even if they do share, they become their own worst critics. It also means that they are afraid of being vulnerable and letting their feelings out.
Jim said: A common link that I found is that everybody is dealing with something, and it could be big, it could be small, or it could be an issue with a parent. It could be an anxiety issue; it could be OCD. Everybody’s dealing with some kind of insecurity, vulnerability, and they don’t know how to articulate it, they don’t know how to share it, they don’t know how to manage it and how to kind of live their life with it.
It is essential to let our feeling out, not like a volcano, but appropriately. When people refrain from sharing their feelings, it affects every aspect of their lives. However, communication proves a pivotal factor to survival in such situations as humans are born to connect and build community.
Talk about Your Passions
Jim says if you get anxious while communicating, you should find something that you are passionate about. If you notice when anyone is talking to you about something they are passionate about, they never fumble!
For example, a teenage girl talking about her love for makeup or a middle-aged man talking about his passion for sports. You just have to find your area of interest, prepare for it, and everything else gets easier.
It is a decisive shift in context when you find what it is that excites you. You attain a more positive attitude while having conversations on topics that would otherwise scare you.
“When you are passionate about something you never want to be quiet about it, you want to tell the whole world.”
Many people think that human interaction is rocket science. It is not. You just have to do more listening. Ask a question. Yes, it is that simple. Ask questions. Take interest in learning from others.
The simplest way to start a conversation is by asking questions. It could be as simple as “Where are you from?” When you ask someone a question, they ask you another question, and before you know it, you’re already in a deep conversation.
Even if it doesn’t work out sometimes, it is okay; not everyone is meant to be your friend. You must keep trying in order to become a better communicator.
Overall, communication is one of the most crucial life skills that one must have to excel in relationships and your career. Your ideas and opinions are a waste if you don’t communicate them appropriately.
Once you learn to share your thoughts and ideas, everything else automatically simplifies.
To learn more about how communication is essential for relationships, catch Jim Van Allen, an expert, and his conversation on Rant & Grow for some terrific tips.
Dr. Jim Van Allan is the Vice President of Schools for The Jon Gordon Companies. He runs the Energy Bus for Schools and Power of Positive Schools programs which help schools across the U.S. develop positive, engaged campuses.
He is also a Professor of Communication Studies for Keiser University teaching public speaking and interpersonal communication courses fully online. Jim runs the podcast ‘Communicate to Motivate’ helping to make communication skills practical and powerful in everyday life. We talk about the importance of developing great communication skills and the impact it has on relationships.
Just click on the play button to listen to the podcast right here.