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3 Things I learned in 2011

There are a lot of resolutions going around at this time of year, there is also a lot of reflection and learning happening as well. This year has been an awesome (and I don’t use that word lightly!) and many, many things have happened. Some extremely joyful, others extremely sad…either way they have stretched me, taught me new things, and made me a better person. Here is a quick snapshot (in no specific order): My son turned 1, grew a business, quit my day-job, wife returned to work, my grandfather passed away, helped organize the first #140conf in Canada, and so, so much more!

I wanted to let you know of 3 things that repeatedly hit me over the head this year. 3 Things that I’ve worked towards, failed at, succeeded at, and struggled with all at the same time. I hope that these 3 things will help you in your communication with others in the upcoming year!

1. Listen

This is number 1 for a reason. Something I realized this year is that everything points to speaking when you are communicating. How to adress people, situations, conflict. What to say when someone is hurting, what to say when someone is verbally attacking you, what to say when there is that awkward silence. All of our communication building and training is built around speaking, saying words, and how to say them. Speaking though is only 1/3 (made up statistic) of our communication though. Listening is the other 2/3. Listening is a LOT of work, and is a skill we need to spend a lot more time on. In fact, I wrote a number of posts about listening this year like, #140confONT, Stories and Listening, Judging before you Listen, Listening and Multitasking, is it possible?, and the Art of Shutting Up (just to name a few). I’ve seen, first-hand how listening can change your relationships, your business, and your life.

2. Timing is Everything

Sure, you probably knew this already, but timing really is everything, especially in conflict situations. Timing can either increase the conflict or decrease it, it can determine when a good question should be asked, it can help us in determining when to broach that disagreement we are having. As a mediator and coach, I get to see this probably more then most people. When should I bring up the idea of separation to my partner? Who should be present for what I have to say and where should this take place? When is a good time for _________ (fill in the blank). Timing is everything. Some people process things faster then others, others have had too much happen in a day already, others just need time to find their zen place. All of these have a huge impact on timing and when is a good time to bring something up.
So how can you improve your timing? Ask the other person when it is a good time! Or if they are not ready for the discussion that you are having, take a break and set up a new time to continue the discussion.

3. Intent, Action, and Effect

This for me has been massive, it’s helped me explore all types of conflicts for myself and others. Even little ones, like why I get mad at my wife when she reminds me to vacuum under the bed…but I digress…this is a game-changer. There are so many reasons why people do different things it’s always good to think of the possibilities. It’s also a good way to talk to others in conflict because it gives you transparency which can lead to trust and understanding. It also can help tell your Truth or explain what’s going on for you.

These are 3 things major things that have impacted both my personal and business life this year. I would love to hear what’s impacted yours! Let me know in the comments!


Jason Dykstra

Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better… MORE >

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