The key to good relationships


Communication. It’s the primary requirement to building successful relationships. Talking is but just one small part of the exchange that occurs between people and this may be seen in those who may not have a wonderful mastery of the spoken word but are still revered for their communicative skills.

I can tell it when you don’t mean a ‘thankyou’ or an ‘I love you’. I can tell when you respect my handshake or you merely are taking part in formalities. I can tell when you’re singing with pride and passion or just blurting out the words that have more value to others.

It’s the intangible ability that draws us to certain people above others. Telling who is genuine versus who is masking their intentions or even distracted. It’s not as common as you’d think to see pure intention and passion. Think of the performance of Future Islands frontman Samuel Herring on Dave Letterman’s show last year. If you haven’t seen it then spend a good five minutes here. Why should we be surprised when someone other than a child lets it all go without fear? It’s raw communication that connects us easily.

To be an effective communicator, one must be able to listen respectfully to whom they are engaging with. It’s a basic requirement that is often neglected by many who elevate themselves above their audience. Get off your phone, turn off the television, take out your earphones and stop eating. Multi-tasking is not an ability, it’s a disability to give appropriate attention to what you’re trying to achieve.

As a man we are often told to let our opinion be heard and be proud of it. Stand up for what’s right and be honest. However, in practice what this may fail to do is give enough weight to listening well in exchange. Paying our full attention with all senses. The best interviewers in my view have been the best listeners, men like Andrew Denton, Michael Parkinson and Kerry O’Brien. We keep coming back to them, as true two-way communication is on display.

Do not underestimate the damage of poor listening, it unbalances relationships and allows resentment to build, as one has to make unnecessary effort to get a point across. The person feels disrespected and is forced to fight for their two cents. Once we are at this juncture, we have miscommunication. So let’s enjoy the full spectrum of communication, just make everything a little simpler and give your undivided and respectful attention.


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