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8 Strategies for Improving Relationships

Power Skills for Better Communication

Would you like to enhance the quality of your life?

Not sure about you, but if I could communicate better with people, my life would be so much better! Imagine the reward of improved relationships with patients and their families, staff, friends and most of all, one’s own family.

Additionally, I think by employing these strategies for improving relationships – this arguably could be a top strategy for stress reduction!

Appear Relaxed and Make Others Feel They Have Your Total Focus

  • If you are comfortable around others, they will feel comfortable with you. If you appear nervous, others will sense it and withdraw. If you are meeting someone for the first time, brighten up and smile as if you’ve discovered a long-lost friend. Always smile as this is the most powerful builder of rapport. Communicate with relaxed optimism, energy and enthusiasm because this provides a strong foundation for lasting relationships.
  • Spend quality time with others but make them feel like you have all the time in the world just for them. Remember its quality not quantity that will give others their impression of the relationship. This is very hard to do when you’re on a schedule during the day. Patients understand there is limited time, but if you act relaxed and focused on them it will still create a positive experience.

Acknowledge Generously

  • Look for and accentuate the positive qualities in others. Humbly acknowledge the difference that people make in your life. If you let someone know that they are valuable and special, they will not forget you. Showing gratitude and encouragement by words and actions will strengthen the bonds of any relationship.
  • Don’t forget to acknowledge your most important relationship: the relationship with yourself. Acknowledge your own qualities and put those qualities into action. You can’t form a stronger relationship with others than you have with yourself. You will attract the qualities in others that are already within you.

Feel Empathy for Others

  • Empathy is the foundation of good two-way communication. Being empathetic is seeing from another person’s perspective regardless of your opinion or belief. Share their excitement in times of victory and offer encouragement in times of difficulty. Genuine feeling of empathy will strengthen the bond of trust.

Act Authentically and Respond Carefully

  • Acting authentically means acting with integrity. It means living in harmony with your values. Be yourself when you are with someone else. Drop acts that create false appearances and false security. When you act authentically, you are honest with yourself and others. Being authentic creates mutual trust and respect.
  • Choose emotions and words wisely. Measure your emotions according to the person’s moods and needs. Words can build or destroy trust. They differ in shades of meaning, intensity and impact. Reflect your interpretation of the person’s message back to them validating your understanding. Compliment the person for the wisdom and insight they shared with you. This shows appreciation and encourages further dialogs with the individual. Consider in advance the impact of your words and adjust to result in positive emotions from the individual.

Be Quick to Forgive and Forget

  • Bury the past quickly. Bitterness never helped anyone. It is extremely difficult to develop a positive relationship with anyone if there is bitterness involved whether it be you or the individual. Likely, you will both benefit to forgive and forget the past and move on to form a better relationship than before.

Show Gratitude

  • Learn to say “thank you” often! Nothing makes people feel better than to be appreciated even if it is just for the time they extended to you. Often this leaves a positive impression on the individual about you. People often make judgements on first impression, but the takeaway feeling when a conversation ends is important as well.

Listen More Than You Talk

  • Powerful listening goes beyond hearing words and messages; it connects us emotionally with our communication partner. Listen to what the person is not saying as well as to what he or she is saying. Focus intently and listen to the messages conveyed behind and between words. Listen also with your eyes and heart. Notice facial expressions and body postures but see beneath the surface of visible behaviors. Feel the range of emotions conveyed by tone of voice and rhythm of speech. Discern what the person wants you to hear and also what they want you to feel.
  • This may be the most difficult strategy to practice routinely. Why? It is human nature to voice an opinion or grievance when given the chance. However, it is talking rather than listening that is more likely to result in a negative impact on the relationship. Being aware of this may change what you do in the future because it allows you to consider in advance the impact of your words before committing them to the conversation. Doing this is more likely to result in creating a positive impact.

Helping Others in a Practical Way to Engage in Nonverbal Communication

  • Go out of your way to help others in practical ways. If a friend is in the hospital, go visit or ask if you can help them with home chores. If a neighbor is going through a difficult financial time, bring groceries or other necessities to help tide them over. If you see a problem someone has and you can help them out, this is a powerful way to nurture your relationship with that person. This lends value to that person in ways you may not understand, but that will undoubtedly strengthen your relationship.

How to Make These Strategies Become a Habit

Ask Yourself:  

What thoughts and behaviors will attract the kind of relationships I desire?

What is one action I could take today that would empower my current relationships?

Write down all the qualities or behaviors that you desire for your relationships.  Select the power skills that will attract those qualities.  Keep a journal of actions you take and the progress you make.  By turning these skills into habits, you will build relationships that are healthy, strong and mutually rewarding.

Conclusion

Relationships require ongoing cooperative action to survive and thrive.

As relationships mature, the needs and values of the individuals will change.

It is so easy to get stuck in the grind of everyday life that we forget that every interaction we engage in imparts some value to another person.  We should aspire for that value to be positive.  We have to be steadfast to guard against the tendency to dispel this importance.

That being said, don’t let a busy day or busy life keep you from using these powerful strategies to create a better relationship with your family, friends, coworkers and patients.

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