If Relationships Are The KEY To Life, What is the KEY to having Great Relationships?

Why do I say that relationship are the key to life? Well, it’s really simple.

Every single area of your life is affected by relationships, they play a part in every single aspect of our lives. We’ve got our intimate relationships with our partners, relationships with family, friends and people at work like our colleagues, managers, employees, clients, customers and suppliers. Even when there’s no one else around and we’re just having a little time for us our relationship with ourselves, the most important relationship we have and yet the one that so many people forget about, is still in play.

So learning how to have really great and fulfilling relationships makes life that much more easier and enjoyable.

So if relationships are the key to life, what is the key to having great relationships?

There are a few key things that are really important in relationships, but there’s one in particular that stands out from the rest and that is to have really great communication.

Why is communication so important? Communication is the foundation of any relationship, it’s what all relationships are built on. If you don’t communicate in any way shape or form, no relationship exists.

So being able to have really great communication is the key to being able to create really great communication is the key to having really fulfilling relationships, regardless of the area of life we’re talking about.

There are obviously other aspects that play into it as well, but the most important one is how we communicate. Everyone has slightly different styles, people use different language, or even more confusingly use the same words but have completely different meanings for them! They’ve got different approaches, some people are very flamboyant and extrovert, others are more introverted.

So being able to bridge these differences in styles and have really great communication means that we’re able to have really great relationships.

Now I tend to find that the simplest tools and techniques are often the most effective, because they’re the easiest to remember and they’re easy to apply. So I’d like to share something with you today that has completely transformed my communication in relationships and could make a huge difference to yours as well.

Today I’m going to share with you a technique called the ‘STAR’ communication model.

It’s really important when we’re relating and communicating with other people that the communication is a two-way thing. Quite often what happens when we’re communicating with other people we’re really enthusiastic about what we have to say so we go into ‘broadcast mode’ where we want to get over to them our thoughts, ideas or opinions more than listen to theirs. When this begins to happen, when they’re speaking we’re just waiting for our opportunity to jump in and share our next thought rather than really listening to what they’re saying to us.

Sometimes that kind of enthusiasm for what we’re speaking about can actually get in the way of the communication, because if each of us is just waiting for our turn to speak, we’re not really taking in what the other person is saying, and if we’re not hearing what the other person is saying then the communication isn’t going to be very effective.

So I’d like to invite you to try our the Star technique the next time you’re having a conversation with someone.

So what is the Star Technique? The Star technique has 5 steps to it, and was inspired by the dictionary definition of ‘A Star’ (someone who is brilliant) because if applied well this technique can make you brilliant at communication.

The Five Steps are:

A – Awareness – Be aware of the other person, the specific language they’re using, their emotional state, how they might be different you, be aware of your outcome before you begin communicating and keep your awareness on the fact that you want to communicate well with them.

S – Stop – When it’s your turn to speak in the conversation, take a moment and pause before responding. Taking a moment takes all the difference when it comes to great communication.

T – Think – Once you’ve stopped, take a moment to think, consider what the other person’s said: Have you understood it? Have you really heard them? Did you really listen to what they had to say? Think about their perspective: Is what you’re about to say considerate of their perspective / feelings? Also think about your outcome: What is the purpose of your communication? What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to understand them better, or are you just interested in getting your point across? …and then think about how you can communicate what you have to say best, and that has the best chance of achieving your outcome. Would a question be better than a statement? Do you need to know more in order to really respond well to what they’ve said? What would help you to get nearer to your outcome?

A – Acknowledge – Acknowledge what it is that they’ve said, before you respond. Sometimes if we jump right in with sharing what we’ve got to say without stopping first to acknowledge that we’ve actually heard what the other person’s said, that we’ve understood their point and that we’ve really listened to what they’re trying to get across to us, they can feel like it’s a one-way communication and that we’re not really listening to them or interested in what they’ve got to say. So taking a moment to stop and acknowledge them before you reply can make all the difference.

R – Respond – Responding is very different to reacting. Responding is about considering what it is that we’re trying to get across, it’s about taking into consideration what it is that this person’s just said to me, what is it that I want to get across and what’s my outcome here. Do I want to say something that’s going to move us closer together, and that’s going to move the conversation forward, or am I in danger of saying something that might alienate them, that might move us further apart? Sometimes someone can say something to us that can trigger an emotional response. Reacting is about letting our emotions drive the communication, responding is about choosing how we reply having considered our emotions and our thoughts too.

When we use the Star technique, we have awareness, we stop, we think, we acknowledge before we respond, it means that when we do reply to the other person, the way we reply is likely to be more effective. It will mean that they’re more likely to feel heard, they are more likely to feel that it’s a two-way communication and it means that you can choose the response that serves you, the other person and the relationship best.

The great thing about Star communication is that it applies to any kind of relationship in any area of life, so you can practice it any time with anyone.

So now I’d like to hear from you. What are some of the challenges that you’ve had with communication? Do you think that the Star communication technique could help improve your communication with others? Do you think it could help improve your relationships? Have you tried the Star communication technique? What has your experience been with it? Leave your questions and comments below…

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