Good communication skills are important to every aspect of our lives, whether it’s communicating with your spouse, your boss, or even your hair stylist. Maybe especially your hair stylist. 🙂
But as ADD Moms, our communication skills may not be as polished as we would like.
It’s hard to communicate with someone if you’re not paying attention all the time, or having trouble focusing on the conversation, or missing important social cues.
Over the years I’ve come up with a few strategies that have worked well my communication needs. Here are a few:
Don’t be afraid to talk to and interact with others. I often stayed quiet rather than take the risk of joining in and saying/doing something foolish. That got me a reputation for being stand offish and unfriendly. Join in, talk to people. It’s OK.
When appropriate, let others know about your communication difficulties. For instance, I may tell someone (usually right after I have done so) that I have a bad habit interrupting people and that I’m working on it and to please excuse me.
My husband and I both have ADHD. We’ve been married almost 30 years and together for 33 years. We have had to learn to communicate with one another in order for our marriage to be the kind of strong relationship that it is. One of the things we do is to be honest and express our feelings openly. Often Mark has hurt my feelings by something that he said or did. A quick conversation about it almost always reveals a misunderstanding of some kind. Problem solved and feelings intact.
Ask questions and paraphrase back to the person you are talking with. This is especially true at work. You want to make sure you understand and that you are clear on what is expected.
If it’s important to you that you are understood and that you say everything you need to, put it in writing. For instance, when my kids were in school, I would often send an email to a teacher rather than call them on the phone. I can write well, but I get nervous and tongue tied on the phone. Constructing an email lets me fine tune what I want to say and cover all of the points I wanted to make.
Above all, relax. If you’re spending all of your time worrying about how well the conversation is going, you’ll miss most of it.