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The power of words

Effective communication leads to understanding. Many conflicts are the result of miscommunication due to misunderstanding. How can you become a better communicator?

Become a better listener.  Practice active listening by focusing on what the member is communicating to you. Checking your phone, changing the topic, or allowing other nuances to distract you while someone is speaking can hinder you from receiving the entire message spoken. It may also be interpreted by the speaker as disrespectful or that you do not truly value what the member has to say. Repeat back to the member what was said to clarify that you understand the intent of the message.

Avoid interrupting, redirection of the conversation and negative body language. Showing interest in what is being said by nodding, using verbal cues, such as “yes” and “ok,” tell the speaker you are engaged in their message.

Avoid judgement. Whether you like the member you are speaking to or not, it is each person’s responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect. You may not always agree with someone’s ideas or opinions. However, it is important to withhold your own judgment and respect other’s views.

Some of the hardest conversations require confrontation. Approaching these conversations with a readiness to understand the other party’s point of view, and with willingness to compromise, resolve conflict and build relationships, leads to greater connections.

Equal Opportunity special observances happening during the remainder of 2019 at Tinker Air Force Base include Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 sponsored by the 72nd Medical Group; Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 sponsored by the 552nd Air Control Wing and National Disability Employment Awareness Month during October sponsored by the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

If you would like to lead a volunteer committee or become a part of a special observance committee, contact Tinker’s Affirmative Employment Program Manager Rebecca Traynor with the 72nd Force Support Squadron at 736-7385, or the Equal Opportunity office at 739-7889. Anyone can participate.