Meghan, Harry and the Lessons in Communication
Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash
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We can learn a lot from Oprah Winfrey’s bombshell interview of Harry and Meghan.
There are lessons in communication and feelings that apply to our relationships with others, in any context.
According to the response of Buckingham Palace, "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."
According to Harry and Meghan, the “firm” is racist. It didn’t support Meghan when she was pilloried by the tabloids. In fact, according to Meghan, it spread falsehoods about her. It failed to offer guidance (or even permit her to seek professional help) when she was desperate and suicidal. Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls. The relationship between Harry and his brother, William, is frayed.
Reconciling the position between these two sides seems impossible.
Based on my research, communication often breaks down when both sides seek to impose their agenda on each other. Typically, neither side attempts to explore why the difference exists. They’re too busy staking their turf.
The solution to communication issues is disarmingly simple: Ask questions.
The monarchy presents unique challenges that might have made implementing these recommendations more daunting.
But when we are confronted with conflict, whether in our personal life or with prospects or clients, eliciting information is critical to a successful resolution. Here are some examples of questions that are effective:
- What can I do to make this situation better?
- Can you suggest some way I can resolve your issues that don’t mean giving up my independence entirely?
- Can you help me understand [fill in the issue]?
- What if I did x? Would that help?
My suggestion for dealing with conflicts generally is this: Compile a list of 10 thoughtful questions you will ask the other person. Then ask sensitive follow-up questions based on their answers.
It might not work with the monarchy but, even in that unusual situation, it would have resulted in a situation far less dire than the present one.
We are all experts about our own feelings. If we feel hurt or slighted, those feelings may not be justified, but they still reflect our feelings.
Were Meghan and Harry “right” to feel the way they did? No one knows, but there’s no doubt they were terribly hurt and believed their safety and the security of their newborn child were at risk.
Relationships often go off the tracks when, instead of acknowledging feelings, we dispute whether they are justified.
There’s a better way, which I recently implemented.
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I took issue with a post on social media. The author of the post sent me a hostile e-mail, telling me how offended he was that I would be critical of his post without first consulting with him.
I didn’t agree with his position. If you post on social media, you’ll receive positive and negative comments. Isn’t that the purpose of social media?
Instead of conveying that position, I responded as follows: “I want to apologize unreservedly for offending you. That wasn’t my intention.”
When you acknowledge feelings, you’re laying a foundation for healing a ruptured relationship.
Buckingham Palace took a step in this direction by stating: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan."
That’s a good start. Even better would be a recognition that having to learn about those feelings in an interview on television reflects an appalling lack of communication and empathy.
Dan trains employees in The Solin Process℠. He makes this guarantee: If his training doesn’t result in an immediate, transformational change in your personal and business relationships, and an increase in your conversion rate, his services are free.