The 7 Keys to Authentic Communication

From “Saying What’s Real” by Susan Campbell.

These 7 key phrases give you a script for improving your communication and relationships.

Key #1.  Hearing you say that, I feel …

When someone gives you feedback or offers an opinion you are likely to have a feeling response. Most of these are simple. A feeling statement can be  – I feel happy, I feel sad, I feel uncomfortable, I feel connected to you, I feel angry, I feel hurt. Most of us bypass our feelings much of the time and go straight to trying to manage the situation by giving advice, defending ourselves, making witty remarks , taking control etc.

Using Key #1 keeps you in the present and connected to what took place. It keeps you more in your heart than in your head.

Key #2. I want …

This phrase is meant to be followed by something specific that you want in this moment. E.g. I want your attention right now, I want you to be honest in your response to my question,  I want you to look at me while I am talking….

Too many people assume that others know their wants. This assumption is a self protective mechanism, and prevents us from feeling vulnerable when we ask what we want.

Remember that you are revealing what you want not demanding that you get it. When you say this with true feeling the other will feel the clarity and power or your contact.

Key #3. I have something (or a feeling) to clear.

This statement opens the way for you to resolves uncomfortable feelings or unfinished business with someone. Once you get this first sentence out, mention your intent to clear the air so the two of you can be okay with each other. You might also inquire if this is a good time for the other person so they participate in the decision about when and how to have such an important conversation.

Key #4. I’m getting triggered.

We all get our buttons pushed sometimes. This key phrase helps you recover from those moments when you automatically react aggressively or defensively. It gives yourself an easy way to buy time, get grounded and perhaps revise you earlier response.

Key #5. I appreciate you for ….

This phrase prompts you to express in specific terms your gratitude for something someone said or did. It’s also a great way to show the other person how you like to be treated.

The best appreciations are those spoken in the moment as you are feeling them. Sharing appreciation has a profound healing function in relationships. Most of us still long to be seen and acknowledged for our gifts. When we appreciate each other as adults, we help each other  heal from wounds of childhood neglect. Appreciation strengthens relationships so it can withstand life’s inevitable challenges.

Key #6. I hear you, and I have a different perspective.

This phrase is useful when two people have different views. It helps people acknowledge that there are two points of view going on, and also opens up the context for a win/win attitude. People need the support for agreeing to disagree that this sentence provides. It gives you a structure for being open to someone else’s point of view, without losing touch with your own.

If worked with consciously, differences can help the relationship expand as a container for meeting each individual’s needs. With more information out in the open a more viable solution can be reached.

Key #7. Can we talk about what’s going on here?

If an interaction has gone or is going badly, then one person needs to take leadership and suggest both step back from the situation and get perspective. E.g. “Can we take a look at what’s happening here? I’m feeling frustrated and we seem to be going round in circles. How about you?”. After a short period of shared reflection it’s a lot easier to start over. When you know how to invite the other person into a conversation about “What are we feeling?” or “Is this working?” you can reflect on your actions, learn from the experience and alter your course.

Now that you know these 7 phrases, the next step is make them yours and practice them with your mother and other significant people in your life. The reason that most relationships don’t work as well as they could is that too many critical moments of relating take place in our minds instead of in our bodies and hearts. Using these phrases will keep you present and connected so you can speak your truth and improve your relationship.

Please make an appointment to talk about what's going in your relationship and to see if coaching or our services would help!