Communication between partners can be messy and complicated.
That is why I developed the 3 “L” Method of Communication. It is easy to remember, and has hand motions to reinforce its use. Look, Listen, Let Go.
Look – personal communication is enhanced when the people who are talking to each other actually look at each other (thus the limitation of phone conversations and texting).
Eye contact helps us be present and know that the person we are talking to can hear us. When we look at another person, we can see their facial expressions and body language, which is a big plus. Since communication is 70% body language and 30% words, looking at another person helps us better understand what they are actually trying to convey.
Listen – while this is an obvious part of communicating, it is generally not done well.
There is an important distinction between hearing and listening. Hearing is the physiological phenomenon of perceiving sounds. Listening is a psychological and interpretative action taken by the listener in order to understand and make meaning out of the sound he is hearing. It takes effort and focus to listen.
Active listening is a high level of listening and involves responding appropriately during a conversation. Acknowledging with a nodding head and “uh –huhs” help the speaker know that the listener is paying attention. The use of empathy, compassion, and curiosity are valuable ways to connect, as is summarizing what the speaker has said. Together, these skills indicate to a speaker that the listener is Present.
Let Go – this is also multidimensional component that involves the following:
- Let Go of the need to respond immediately; Listen more, talk less.
- Let Go of the need to fix problems or people; people just want to be heard
- Let Go of your EGO and the need to be right; others can be right too
- Let Go of judgement of others; practice acceptance
- Let Go of interrupting while others are talking; practice patience
The 3 “L” Method can be remembered and reinforced with simple hand motions.
- Look – point towards your eyes
- Listen – point towards your ears
- Let Go – place your hands in front of you, palms up, like you are letting go of something
Like any communication method, the more you practice, the more consistent and proficient you will become. In your next conversation, pick one of the 3 “L’s” to practice. You will soon experience more engagement and connection with others.