This just in! There is a distinct difference between discussing something where all parties are willing to be influenced and talking AT each other.
We are moving so fast in our day-to-day life and are so used to not feeling heard that we often guilty of talking at, not with, each other. The whole time other person is talking we are thinking up our response instead of listening for understanding and asking clarifying questions. I call these “drive-by” conversations. Not a very productive or fulfilling way to be in relationship.
A wonderful way to improve dialogue and create understanding is to slow down the pace of the conversation, chunk down your message and pause before responding. This means that we chunk our message down into sound bytes and actually pause long enough to allow it to be heard. When we say too much, too quickly we can overwhelm each other. Once we have heard the message then it’s important to pause before responding to what is being said. Not only to maintain a feeling of safety but also to really listen for the important part of the message so we can respond in a way the increases understanding. When practiced this creates a maturity and fluency in the dialogue which elevates feelings of positivity and understanding in the relationship. It’s actually almost magical what can happen when we slow down and change the way we talk with each other. So slow down, chunk down your message (less is more) and pause to allow for a response. If you are receiving a message then listen and pause before responding. Listen for what part of the message needs to be responded to. The other day my husband I were discussing a hot topic and I mentioned a concern I had about the particular subject. Instead of becoming defensive he actually asked me what my concern was in a very caring way. It opened up an entire conversation that led to greater understanding between us.
So, as always give it a try. Practice makes perfect.