As we gear up for our panel discussion on March 5, we are featuring our panelists. Today, we meet Rev. Kirkpatrick Tyler.
Rev. Tyler is the founder and executive director of the Fig Tree Development Group, which provides training, capacity building, and asset development services for nonprofits, small businesses, and religious institutions.
Why is positive communication between men and women important to you personally? I am a firm believer that communication is the most powerful weapon or tool that we have. The most dangerous position to be in is one where neither side is communicating. It is so critical for men and women because it is the only way we can ever gain understanding between two groups that are so often misunderstood by one another.
How can men and women communicate better in dating and married relationships? There are five things I always teach that are critical points of communication in relationships; that they should be:
- Safe – Meaning that each party is able and willing to hear and say what is truly on their heart and mind. Each party must be able to share without fear and hear without judgement. Both parties must feel safe in the idea that they can share freely without the other getting offended, jumping to judgment or walking away.
- Open – Often we say we want a spouse or partner who will share everything and be completely honest (The Best Friend Syndrome) When, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us really want our partner’s communication to fit perfectly inside of our comfort zone and frame of who we believe they are or want them to be. In reality both parties would have to practice a higher level of maturity and responsibility towards one another to create an open line of communication. If we want our partners to communicate the same way they do with friends we have to create that same environment for one another.
- Honest – Honesty will never exist fruitfully without the presence of openness and safety. But if we can be honest with one another it opens up a whole new level of understanding. Now honesty does not start with being honest with the other person. It actually begins with us being honest with ourselves,i.e., What are my intentions? What am I really feeling? Am I truly asking and saying what is real? Is this as important as I’m making it?)
- Respectful – No matter what has to be said or heard each person deserves respect and when we uphold our respect each other we can hear and speak more clearly. When we relinquish our respect we are no longer operating in a space of safe communication.
- Be willing to have the tough conversations – Sometimes our communication is poor because we are not willing to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable or hear things that do not fit our mold, frame and expectation. Because we are not willing to have the tough conversations, we only experience our partners on a very surface level; not just our romantic partners but anyone we find ourselves in relationship with.
How can women and men communicate better in work place/business interactions? I believe positive business communication is rooted in mutual respect value and recognition of each others gifts and talents.
What hinders positive communication? Do you think people say what they really mean most of the time or do they say what they believe the other wants to hear? I think it is often a poisonous mix of both and so in critical situations it makes it impossible to communicate with any level of clarity. I also think we are hindered by our need or perceived obligation,to respond. We usually feel we must immediately comment rather than listen, digest and engage in genuine dialogue.
Do you think males hear differently than females? How so? Yes, I believe we hear from a different place and this does not always fall along gender lines. In most relationships we are often hearing from an emotional perspective, a logical perspective and or a biological perspective, (Heart, Head, Body). This is ever changing and evolving depending upon the situation, and each partner may switch roles at any time. When we can identify and respect our own as well as our partners perspective we can communicate clearly even though we are hearing differently.
When you say “I’m gonna hang out with the guys tonight.” What do you really mean? What do you think the wife or girlfriend hears? I need some time away from this type of relational interaction to go to a place where I can express myself in a way that is very gender specific.
In your work; i.e., counseling or coaching others, What percentage of the problems between men and women stem from miscommunication? ALL OF THEM Communication is the key to success in any relationship.
What do you want participants to take away from your presentation? I hope participants walk away with the willingness to challenge how they communicate with themselves and with others; not to adopt my ideas but to honestly and openly engage and challenge their own.
What would you consider to be the long term effects of better communication between couples; Between co-workers and business associates? How will this change impact families and community? I believe the long term effects are a deeper appreciation for each other, clearer and more deeply rooted relationships. In some cases you may see the need to end some relationships because your practice could reveal that its not the right relationship for you; whether romantic, social, business or other. Finally, I believe improved communication is the key to us working together to liberate our people.
Join Rev. Tyler and our other incredible panelists Saturday March 5,2016 for Are You Hearing Me? Am I Hearing You?