How to deal with a problem in a personal or business relationship.

Begin with honest communication. You cannot have good communication without shear honesty. You would agree wouldn't you? No one likes to be lied to and certainly no one will trust you once they believe you are not honest.

Therefore, always be honest, it certainly is the best policy.

However, in saying that, you must be mindful of two important procedures when being honest. The first, be sure to speak the truth with empathy towards your listener. At times honesty will be painful; therefore, you should consider saying what needs to be said with tenderness and compassion. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you were the one being told what you are about to tell them?

The second issue for you to consider is this; determine if what you are going to say needs to be said at all. Some things can go without being said and will not hurt anyone. Now, of course, I am not speaking about the nonsensical idea that " what they do not know does not hurt them."

There are definitely issues that hurt others whether they know about them or not, but yet again there are some things that do not need to be said at all.

Just as important as being honest, is the need for you to understand the other person and for you to be understood by them. William James said, "There is no greater lie than a truth misunderstood." Thus, if you are misunderstood or you misunderstand, you still do not have the truth. It is imperative that you work at understanding what the other person is really saying and also that he or she understands you.

How do you do this?

What do you do to understand?

What do you do to be understood?

There are some very practical principles to follow such as:

*Listen with genuine ears. Pay attention to them as they speak. Look at them so that they know you are listening.

*Listen with empathy. Nod when you understand what they have said, do not interject with “but” as it is a very confrontational word, think of “but” as a physical blow to your listener.

*Listen with respect. You can hardly expect to have respect returned to you if you can’t extend it to your listener.

*Listen with your ears and heart. Your listener may not have enough skill at communication to express himself or herself properly, in which case let your heart interpret what they truly mean.

*Ask questions to clarify what they are saying. This is the quickest way to reinforce the fact that you are listening

*Summarize what you thought you just heard them say.

*Use I and not you, "I feel like..." not "You make me feel like...."

*Interpret negative statements (ask yourself what are they really saying and then respond accordingly)

You are on sacred ground when someone is sharing their heart with you. You should take it seriously and treat it accordingly. Perhaps the best way to ensure you are treating the knowledge of someone's inner thoughts with respect and honour is to look at yourself as their translator.

Try to understand what is being said to you so well, that you could translate it to someone else and be completely accurate with the content.

Good communication is the key to lasting relationships in you business and private life.

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