© August 2010 by Fabienne Lopez
Mercury retrogrades 3 or 4 times a year. The third Mercury retrograde will happen in Virgo (8/20/2010 to 9/12/2010). Combining Mercury (communication, thought) with the qualities of Virgo (precision, logical, quick, practical and common sense) and you have a recipe on learning how to communicate with less static in our daily communications. A good usage of Mercury retrograde in a Virgo period.
Communication skills are something we are always emphasizing in our workplace, resumes, daily life etc… But how many of us are really capable of effective communication? How many of us know how to communicate in a way that conveys the message clearly?
The Emotional Cost of Miscommunication
At the same time, we complain about being misinterpreted and misunderstood. Ineffective communication skills can cause havoc and impact the quality of our life. The book by John Gray, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, illustrated the difficulties and the cost both genders encounter because of poor communications in the increase of conflicts, misunderstanding, hurt and resentment. No wonder communication skills are so valued. So much can be lost in translation—the coding and encoding that is done between sender and receiver. Yet, our ability to effectively translate and to clearly convey our intention and message is extremely important in our daily life. It is this combination of both clearly conveying and accurately receiving that makes up effective communication.
Inspired by the upcoming Mercury Retrograde in Virgo, here are 5 tips to improve communication
1) Be specific and clear. Get to the point. Don’t ramble or include needless details. Think of the Virgo qualities of Virgo. Sometimes it is extremelly hard for me, as my own Mercury is located in Pisces, the opposite sign of Virgo. So my communication style tends to be vague and unclear. But by following this simple rule of being specific and clear, I have much improved.
2) Establish true dialogue. Encourage your listener to ask clarifying questions, or follow up to aid their understanding. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know an answer, and be sure to get back to them with the correct answer when you do know.
3) Carefully read and listen. So much can be read between the lines of what is spoken or written based on the tone or body language associated with a message. Therefore, when on the receiving end of communication, it is important to take into account the overall context of the message and be on the lookout for a disconnect between words and subject matter.
4) Stay positive. Petty or passive-aggressive sniping should not be tolerated. Even the harshest feedback can and should be delivered in a positive, supportive, team-centric manner. Focus on behavior and performance and not character. When on the receiving end of a message, it is equally important to avoid getting triggered by difficult messages.
5) Never assume you understand. Make this a rule and you will avoid lots of problems and misunderstandings. Sometimes we interpret or communicate things incorrectly, and then it is even more important to double check that you understand, before becoming emotional and attaching your own meaning to something. If your partner says “Sometimes I long for the times when I was single,” it is very easy to translate this into “I wish I had never married you,” especially when you are feeling insecure. Once again, don’t assume — rather double check. Ask, “Do you mean that you wish that you had never married me?” or just “What do you mean by that?” You will find that you avoid many arguments and misunderstandings if you do not always assume that you understand. It’s better to confirm that you have heard and interpreted your partner correctly.
Practice these five tips to improve your communication so that when Mercury Retrograde strikes in Virgo this fall, you’ll be ready and steady with improved communication skills. Your life will go smoother, and you can ride out this bumpy time with confidence and ease.
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Photos Credit: Flickr Creative Commons license ( number Five picture by Hillarywho)