Learning improved communication skills is not just about acquiring new to do’s, it’s also about self-monitoring to observe what NOT to do. For example, non-verbal communication such as facial expressions definitely say more about what a person is really feeling and saying than the words he/she expresses.
Doing some self-reflection to observe one’s tone, gestures and body posturing are all vital to making communication a more positive experience for everyone in the family.
Having a disease such as Alzheimer’s in the family may require a new way of relating for each person involved. Here are some more tips on adaptation of effective and positive communication skills for the family;
1.When a heated discussion comes up, keep the words short, concise and to the point. Don’t fall into the common pitfall of burying the message in too many words.
2.Try to avoid as much as possible focusing on the problems and spend more time and energy coming up with solutions. Complaining never really accomplishes much of anything.
3.Be conscientious of how the phrasing of words is formulated. For example; steer clear of starting statements with “you made me feel” and use “I” statements instead. Instead of stating; “You hurt my feelings when you said I didn’t contribute enough,” restate the sentence to say; “I felt hurt when I interpreted you saying that I wasn’t doing my part.” This statement leaves the possibility open that perhaps the speaker misunderstood the intentions and even the words of the other person in the conversation. Once blame is assigned, positive communication usually comes to a screeching halt.
4.Maintain good eye contact during the entire conversation. Looking away from the speaker sends a message that you are not listening or that you really aren’t interested in what he/she is saying.
5.Keep in mind that you have 2 ears and only one mouth. This statement reminds us to try to listen more often than we speak. Listen for the speaker’s feelings as well as the words.
6.Utilize “active listening” skills whenever possible. Active listening means that you are NOT trying to interject your own thoughts into the conversation but rather mirroring the speaker’s thoughts back to him/her according to your understanding of what was said. It’s kind of like clarifying that you are truly understanding the words as the speaker is intending to say them.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease by joining our FREE 25 lessons at AlzU.org today.