Whether it is within your business, marriage or neighborhood, each relationship you have combines differing stories into a new story—a relationship story.

Like your life story, your relationship story does not just happen: Each moment is a paragraph waiting to be written.

Hidden assumptions and implicit expectations can derail communication unless each point of view is expressed with simplicity and clarity. To see the other person’s point of view and communicate that understanding, each must first respect the other’s point of view. To understand and respect does not necessarily mean to agree.

The ultimate freedom is not having to rely on someone else’s response to determine how you feel about yourself.

The most common response to being unheard is to feel ineffective. This results in repetition, often combined with turning up the volume. When this happens, a more intense focus is placed on the content of the discussion, rather than on the process of feeling unheard that initiated the derailment.


A Dozen Business Relationship Principles

1. Each person has a point of view.

2. Communication establishes a common ground to understand different points of view and create a mutual, collaborative agreement or plan.

3. Developing empathy with another is predicated on doing it with yourself first. Empathy is a way of listening to yourself as well as to another person’s entire experience of feeling, thinking, perceiving and behaving. “Rapport” is from the French word rapporter, which means to be in touch or contact with a person, including yourself.

4. What someone believes is more important than what he knows.

5. To require that someone else responds to you in a particular way renders inauthentic both the person and the response.

6. What you don’t do is as important as what you do.

7. Strike while the iron is cold. Know when to be reflective and invoke principles. When the house is burning is no time to teach fire safety principles.

8. There are few true emergencies in life. “I’d like to think about that and get back to you,” is a response.

9. How empathic ruptures are learned from, understood, and repaired becomes a core maintenance aspect of every relationship. Everyone fails empathically with another at times. The most important thing may not be what you have done, but what you do after what you have done.

10. To forgive someone is to free yourself; if you hold on to anger and hurt, you continue to hold the injury.

11. You cannot change yourself by first trying to change someone else. The only person you can change is you. Attempting to change someone else’s mode of processing or personality style won’t work—and will create derailments. Quicken® software cannot be changed or rehabilitated to become WordPerfect®.

12. Having someone else live an unexpressed part of yourself can be both unsatisfying and addictive.


A Relationship Story Exercise

Reflect on what you have learned from previous contacts:

Prepare for co-creating a new relationship story:

Further the agenda:

Foster the process of communication:

While all business is conversation based on relationships, successful collaborations between individuals or groups relies on other sets of considerations: competence, shared values and policies, mutually constructed individual and collective goals, and clear role responsibility and authority. This relationship exercise can expedite full expression and development of these other aspects of business alliances.
We are always communicating; there are many languages, and some even use words.

DAVID KRUEGER, M.D. is an Executive Strategist/ Professional Coach
who mentors executives, entrepreneurs and authors.
He is author of 11 books on success, money, work and self-development.
This article is excerpted from Dr. Krueger’s forthcoming book,
Live a New Life Story: The Essentials of Change, Reinvention and Personal Success.