Effective Ways To Communicate With Your Partner

Episode #721

Have you ever wondered how effective communication can transform your relationships, whether it’s with your partner or colleagues?

Do you want to know the secret to making your loved ones feel truly understood and valued?

Effective communication is the key to fostering understanding and connection with the people you care about. It starts with validating their feelings and experiences, allowing them to feel seen and heard.

By cleaning the metaphorical “mud” off the glass that separates you from others, you can cultivate authentic relationships built on trust and empathy. 

In this episode, you’ll learn the essential elements of effective communication that can deepen your connections and create meaningful relationships.

Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man. 

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode, the Powerful Man Show. We are back. Today we’re going to talk about effective ways to communicate with your partner. So I know this sounds like a boring one, but stick to the end because I know we’re going to get some nuggets. One of the top complaints women have is their men don’t listen and or don’t communicate. Right? So how do you do that effectively as a man so that your woman can feel seen and heard as well as desired? And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Tim?

Tim Matthews  00:52

Yeah, I think it’s a huge topic and just thinking immediately, there’s various guys that come to mind who have had this as their focus over the past month or two. I’m thinking of you guys in the Inner Circle in particular. Inner Circle is one of our higher end masterminds. And not only they’ve seen a massive shift in their relationship with the wife, but it’s also translated to the business partners and the staff as well.

And in doing so, they’re seeing the staff are thanking them and very grateful for finally seeing them. One guy, in fact, was out a concert with a few key people from his leadership team and his sales director came up to him and thanked him again for a conversation he had with him three weeks prior, sharing how much it meant to him. And the idea was about cleaning mud off the glass and all that stuff which you’re familiar with. No, the listeners aren’t, but maybe we’ll talk about that.

So the point I’m making here is everybody wants to be seen and heard as well. Yeah, for sure your partner and a lot of the tools and insights we’ll share I imagine are going to translate to other relationships as well.

Doug Holt  02:03

Yeah, when you mentioned that. So I’m working with a guy one on one, I’m coaching him. I’m talking about mastery versus dabbling. And so we are perfecting the Hidden Motives Technique, which is something we’ve done a lot of podcasts on, something we teach the men in much greater detail in our flagship program, The Activation Method. I don’t really say that guys, because some guys don’t know what it is. And so I don’t want guys listening to this go, what the heck is he talking about?

And so one of the times his wife was away, I said, hey, look, I want you to practice this with other people. He’s like, okay, I’ll see it now. This guy’s got a very large business, a couple of hundred employees, and he does major construction projects. I’m trying to think of how not to say exactly who he is. Major construction projects that involve government officials, cities, big cities. And so I get a message from him like, oh, my gosh, man.

So he was at a meeting and someone very prominent in politics, the city was there and happened to be a woman. And he used the hidden motive technique. Right? So validation validating her the way that we teach the men how to do this. And this woman’s usually kind of cold and what have you. He’s like, she started crying because she felt so seen by him. Now, this could be used for bad. Right? He could usually manipulate this relationship now, but he relieved her, basically. Right? He collected her berries is what we talk about a lot.

And I’ll go into that in a second what collecting the berries is about. But it’s the idea that when you effectively communicate specifically man to woman, but it goes both ways, men, too need to be heard, then this idea that breaks down the walls and allows that person to be seen so well, especially in a marriage we talked about in a previous episode, about when marriages become passionate less. Right? And people do the same routine over and over again. So going back and allowing being able to effectively communicate allows that renewal to happen much more readily.

Tim Matthews  04:05

Yeah, it’s incredible. The guy was talking about a similar position, right? He’s got a few hundred employees as well, runs an incredibly large or very large company, scaling to a billion dollars. And for him, he’s done the same thing. He chose to do it within his leadership team in the beginning, and he’s gone around, had these, let’s call them clearing conversations with each of his. There’s about four or five key people, and the impact it’s had on them has just been huge.

And he started to do it not so much clearing conversations with his kids, but the validation aspect with his kids as well. And that’s had a huge effect there. And then when we go to his wife and we talk about berries and other bits and pieces, he’s just seeing these relationships in his life that mean so much to him, just come to life in a way that he always knew they could, but didn’t know how. Right? So, yeah, I’m excited to dive into it.

Doug Holt  05:09

So let’s dive into it. So, yeah, we’re not taught to communicate as men. Right? And so I’ll set the scene that I’ve heard before. Is it’s more of an anthropological resonance. Right? Story is, if you go back in time, we haven’t changed much since the old hunter gatherers, right? We’re the still same. We got better clothes, maybe, or better beer. But back then, if you were in more of a tribal situation, the men would go out and hunt.

So if you and I, Tim, were going out to hunt the woolly mammoth, right, we’re out there, we’d have to be very quiet. We can’t startle the woolly mammoth to bring it back to present time, think of a DEER or something. But what we do is we just make hand, you know, like we do something like that. So guys, I’m making hand signals. So if you’re not watching this, you’re missing out on my horrible interpretation. Go over to YouTube, you can check it out.

But we use hand signals. We’d make grunts and small noises, one word answers. So we didn’t scare off the prey, so we could bring home the meat to the family, so everybody could survive. And so the idea is, the theory is men have evolved this way to communicate in very short, blunt reasons. We had a guy at The Alpha Reset, had one word answers, was kind of the joke with everything. So guys are just like that.

So when we look at women, well, women, women would go out and they’d say, collect berries. And we use this analogy of collecting berries. So they would go out together and they’d have babies and kids with them. Oftentimes as they went through the forest, they had to be very talkative and loud for a couple of reasons.

One is it would scare off snakes or other animals, so they wouldn’t turn the corner, be a bear. The bear jumps them, eats them, so they’re talking the whole time. The prey or even if, say it’s a mountain lion or back then a saber tooth tiger can hear them and realize it’s a lot of people. Therefore, it’s not easy prey and would move on.

Also, it’s really important for women, right, they would talk about, hey, go collect the berries, but not the red berries. Make sure you get the blueberries, not the blueberries in the big tree, but the blueberries in the bush. Not the bush by the river, because there’s a snake there, but not that river over there. But get the blueberries that are over on this season, but don’t get them in the morning because they’re too tart. Get them at night, da da da da.

And so they go into these amazing details, because if the woman picked the wrong berries, the whole tribe could die, right? They can be poisonous. Or if she went to the wrong time and got the berries, the acidity or the sugar level would have been different, the wrong season, picking fruit. So women go into absorbing detail, right? Tons of detail. When they look at them, watch any get a group of five women together talking, and they talk over each other, it seems like it’s madness, yet they all get it.

And now you go, you put a man who doesn’t say anything and a woman together in relationship, and you wonder why there’s strife. Well, they’re not speaking the same language, and so that’s different. So we talk about at TPM is collecting the woman’s berries. What that looks like, guys, is first is allowing her to download her day, right? So it starts off with something like, how was your day? And then keep having open ended questions and probing until she is able to empty all of her berries. So she empties what seems like to a man, verbal diarrhea, vomit, if you will, or it can seem like a man, I should say.

Once you understand this, it doesn’t at all. It’s actually fun. And then she is now free to be in her femininity and be there. And now you can have more effective communication. So you got to collect her berries. That’s one part of communication. Two is she needs to understand that you get her. This is where validation or the hidden motive technique comes in. So to effectively communicate in a partnership, that other person needs to understand that you understand their situation and you understand them.

So if your wife comes to you and says, ah, it’s been such a long day because the kids are doing this and that, and my daughter is not listening to me or what have you, I’m making this up on the spot. She wants to know that you really get her frustrations, not just, oh, daughter being bad fix problem, right? That’s what goes through most guys head, right? Daughter bad fix problem. But really what she wants to be a response like this would be a more effective communication technique. Go, man. I imagine that would be horrible. Being alone with the kids all day when they’re acting out, not listening to you. You don’t have an adult to have a real adult conversation with. It would just be taxing to sit there and chase them around all day. You must be exhausted, right?

Now, she’s going to go like, oh, my God, he gets it. He sees me. He understands me. When you do that effectively, Tim, and you’ve downloaded her berries, she is able to be so much closer to you and receptive to anything that you want to talk about.

Tim Matthews  10:03

Big time. It’s funny just going back to watching two women do this. The guy was speaking about earlier, that’s one of the things I said to him, hey, I want you to go and just observe how two women validate one another and collect berries. And met with him the following week on the coaching call. His mind was blown. He was like, oh, my God, they’re so good at it. He just got immersed in watching these two people.

It’s amazing to see, right? Because as guys, we’ve been surrounded by it our entire lives, but it’s like this Jedi trick that’s going on that we’re not switched onto. But when you switch onto it and you watch them, it’s like a master class in how to do it. It’s incredible. And the other thing that came to mind as you were talking there about collecting the berries, one of the guys in the inner circle, Iron Man, he talks about the mistake he used to make that got his marriage into trouble, which was he would come home, his wife would go to share the berries. He’d say, no, no just the headlines. Just the headlines.

Doug Holt  11:06

I’ve done that.

Tim Matthews  11:07

He now laughs at himself in hindsight, but he’s like, what a dumb ass I was. Just the headlines. Because back then, he was thinking, she’s sharing all these problems with me that I need to solve all these complaints with me that are about me. And it’s definitely not problems she wants you to solve. And it’s not often criticisms about you either. She just needs to release that pressure valve to your point to relax into a feminine so when you’re able to provide the opportunity to release it and validate to your point yeah. The closeness just brings you guys so much closer together, so much faster as well.

Doug Holt  11:50

Yeah, it really does. That’s so funny, because I do that. I’ve done that in business, too, with people, and so much so. So Darcy, who’s worked with me for 13 years now, we were talking about this the other day. It’s been 13. So sometimes when I come home, but when talking to her, I’ll be like, hey. She’ll ask me about, like, oh, how was the build out? And I’ll be like, cool. I’ll start talking. I’ll go realize Darcy is a woman. Which is not hard to realize. But in conversation, I’m like, do you want the meta or the meadow? With the meadow is the berries, the details, or do you want just the rough snippet? 100% of the time, she wants the details. She wants to know, what was it like? There was smoke in the air. How smoky was it? Right? Like, all of those little crisp details.

Feminine women crave them. It’s not that they want them. They friggin crave them and as men, so that’s a business situation where I’m talking to this person. Darcy’s like a sister to me, and she’s just somebody that I know. And other women I get to remember. Okay, cool. Doesn’t have to be the headlines or bullet points. There’s time for them. Right? Sometimes I’m just like, no, Darcy, just give me the headlines. Just give me the bullet points. I don’t need to know the details, and go from there. And you can do that with your wife, too, sometimes. But for effectively communicating, you want to really understand what it is she wants and how she wants it delivered.

Tim Matthews  13:16

Yeah. Like you said, you can do it sometimes. Right? If that’s the exception and not the norm, I think she’ll get it. Because there’ll be enough deposits in that bank account.

Doug Holt  13:25

For sure.

Tim Matthews  13:26

Where you can take it. But yeah, the other one, don’t know if it’s the right time to share this piece or not, but the idea of cleaning mud off the glass, I’ll choose that guy again, who you know very well. So what he realized was that he had let mud build up on the glass between him and, let’s just say sales director.

So the idea is mud on the glass. There’s two people. There’s a piece of glass between these two people, and at the beginning, the glass is clear, and those two people can see each other very clearly. And then over time, as time goes by and resentments build up and things go unsaid, and things go unfelt, emotions go unprocessed, resentment builds up, and with each bit of resentment, it’s a bit of mud that gets flicked on the glass.

And over time, as that continues to happen, eventually you can’t see the other person because there’s so much mud on the glass. They’re still there. They are still the other person. However, your view of them is tainted. Now, what this guy chose to do with his sales director because he said, hey, look, I get to have a conversation with him.

Okay, well, what’s going on? Why’d you get to have a conversation? Well, I’ve been avoiding certain saying certain things, not been honest with him. So what we came to was the idea of him sharing this concept of mud on the glass and just really owning his side of the street and saying, I’ll say his name is Doug. Hey, Doug. I want to just own my side of the street here. Over the past few months, I’ve allowed some mud to build up on the glass between you and I. And what that has meant is that I think it’s tainting our relationship. I’ve not been honest with you.

As a leader, I could have done a better job of holding a space for you and I so that we were honest, and I didn’t make up stories, which I did, honestly, and I’m sorry for doing that, and it’s unfair. I shouldn’t have done that. It didn’t set up for success. And if you’re open to it, I’d love the opportunity to clean that mud off the glass, because you’re important to me. Our relationship is important to me. Outside of work, you matter to me. And inside of work, I want you to succeed as well. So would you be open to having that conversation? Which the guy said, yeah, because obviously the leader is going to him and saying, hey, I’ve not been a good leader. By hiding things, essentially shares the idea of mud on the glass, wanting to clean it off, but then also, more importantly, because you’re important to me right outside of work, you’re important to me. Our relationship is important to me. And inside of work, I want you to thrive, and I want to see you for success.

The guy said yes. He went on to share the idea of mud on the glass and shared how he had contributed to mud been on the glass and what he wanted to do to remove it, to which the sales director then shared how he had put mud on the glass and what he would do to remove it. And they went through this great conversation, essentially wiped the mud off the glass, which had them feel very connected, and it impacted the sales director so much.

So, like I said at the concert, granted, there’d been a little bit of alcohol, but that often reveals some of the truth even further. Right? For this guy that came up, not too much alcohol by any means, who was incredibly touched by this, and he said, no one’s ever connected with me in that way before. Just thank you for providing a space for us to be able to talk like that. I feel like you really care about me. And he said, ever since that conversation, that guy has just been going above and beyond. He’s not done it to manipulate him, so he goes above and beyond. That’s just an added benefit.

Doug Holt  17:08


Tim Matthews  17:09

When people feel seen, he’s done it with a few other key people, too.

Doug Holt  17:13

Yeah. So we do this for men. We teach men how to do a version of this in their marriage. We call it the Clean Slate Method. And you’re wiping the slate clean so you can do this aversion of this. You can do micro clean slates, kind of like we are talking about here. And so for the mud on the glass idea, guys, you did a very good descriptor of it. But I also want the guys to understand, when we say mud on the glass, what we’re looking at is imagine there’s a plane of glass between you and the other person.

So in this example, we use your wife. There’s a plane in glass between you and your wife. Then little indiscretions happen, like she was too loud doing the dishes while I was trying to take a nap. A little bit of glass gets mud gets flicked onto that glass. And then maybe it’s another indiscretion happens that you do. Maybe you’re snoring at night, or maybe you miss date night because of a meeting. Then a little mud gets thrown on the glass on her side.

And over time, what happens is you might try to do a fake apology, which is like smearing the mud, trying to wipe it off, but smearing it, and then you can’t see each other. So there’s no trans transparency in the relationship. And so that’s what Tim’s talking about here, going through it. I know you’re looking at me nodding because you know it and sometimes it’s hard to talk about topics that you and I both know so well and explain them to somebody else when we’re looking at each other.

So you want to do this in your marriage, too? It’s very difficult. It’s one of the first things that we teach the men how to do. You want to do it effectively. That’s the hard thing. And that’s why for The Activation Method, it’s very intimate groups with coaching. So the guys get direct, individual feedback on how to remove the mud on the glass. Because if I go my wife and I have mud on the glass and I go to apologize to her or I try to clean up or try to bring passion back in, she can’t see me clearly and I can’t see her, and it’s ineffective. You need to have that glass clean so you can move forward.

So using that with kind of the Hidden Motives Technique which you talked about earlier, and collecting the berries is a very effective way to, one, be able to see each other. Two, your wife now feels seen, heard, and desired. She feels like you understand her better than anybody in the world. And when your wife feels like you understand her better than anybody in the world, there is nothing she won’t do for you, right? Nothing or to you. And so you want to make sure that’s happening.

Two, if you love your partner or you love the people you’re around or people you work with, it behooves you to allow them to be seen. It behooves you out of a place of love to allow them to be understood. Like, hey, they come into an environment where they’re choosing to work, and that the people around them, the leaders, the bosses or coworkers, understand what their situation is, understand what they’re going through, understand them as a human. Right? We’re human beings, and we forget that sometimes, especially in relationship.

Tim Matthews  20:14

Yeah. And I think there’s another point here that is related, especially when I speak to the guys and they struggle to attune often and switch out of work mode and into home mode, if we call it that. The alpha decompression has been a real key for a lot of these guys. It’s helped to get them out of that problem solving mode. Because, again, if you walk in through the door and even you might be going through all this and you might be emptying the berries and validating and so on, but what we’ve seen happen with the guys is after a couple of months of doing that. If they become a bit complacent and they walk through the door, and they walk through the door and they’re still thinking about work, and they then start to just regurgitate the same things they’ve been saying for a few weeks, it becomes inauthentic.

And the wife catches it and she’s like, Are you reading from a script? Like, what are you doing? You just susses out real quick. And it shocks the guy. And that’s because he’s not there. He’s not connecting to her. He’s not attuning himself to the environment or to the situation. So one of the ways the guys do this is by doing the alpha decompression. It’s a routine they do at the end of their workday.

Guys do it very differently. They could take a cold shower. They could go for a walk. They could journal, they could do some breath work. It’s a little bit different for every guy. It depends on how much time they have. Some guys do it on the ride home from the office to getting home. If you work at home, isn’t going to happen. You do it by hitting the sign as you leave your office, right? Switches your state. I think it’s a key piece to this. That state management, so you can attune to it and actually connect with whoever it is. In this instance, your wife. It makes a big difference.

Doug Holt  22:06

Yeah, it does. Let’s summarize a few of these things because we’ve kind of gone all over the place here, as we tend to do. We talk about effective communication, especially in a relationship. I think the first step is validating, right? It’s not really the first step, but it’s the easiest. First step is going into validating, and that’s really trying to get into the world of the other person that you’re communicating with, understanding what their point of view could be. So there’s empathy there, but also making them feel seen and heard, right? Making them feel seen and heard. That’s step one.

In my opinion, if you can clean the glass first, that’s the better way of doing it. But you need a lot of training to do that, in my opinion. What happens is men come, they’ll try it, we have something. If you go to thepowerfulman.com/cleanslate, there’s a free training and downloading on how to do this. So for men that are interested, guys, you can go out and actually get this done. Go to thepowerfulman.com/cleanslate. I got to remember where it’s located. And there’s a free training, there’s a training on there as well as you can actually learn how to write a Clean Slate Letter and get feedback on that directly.

So go over and do that. That’s the best way. Individual coaching is by far the best way because we’re guys. The last Clean Slate Letter I read that a client sent me, Tim, he spent a lot of time on it. It was horrible. There was no way I wouldn’t let him deliver it. We went through five revisions before it actually so he could get the result he wanted.

So you want to do that and then go into the Hidden Motives Technique and then collect berries if you can do those three things. Simple, right? Collect berries, Hidden Motives Technique, clean the mud off the glass. Clean Slate letter is by far Clean Slate Method, the best way of doing it. If you can do those three things, your communication will be so effective, your leadership will be effective, and your life will be so much friggin easier.

Tim Matthews  24:02

Big time. Big time.

Doug Holt  24:05

So gentlemen, as we always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. I’m curious on what you’re going to take action, you know, this is your shot. Don’t go from podcast to podcast, YouTube show to YouTube show. This is your shot to actually take action and make some changes. Tim and I gave you some resources. Make sure you do them. They’re totally free. We’re giving this to you guys. We’ve done tons of other shows and episodes on these subjects as well. So you can go over to thepowerfulman.com I think it’s shows or podcasts, click the link, you guys could figure it out and you’ll see a ton of episodes. So you can keep getting in here. Remember, mastery is by far better than Dabbling and always will be. Take care.

All right, guys, that’s a wrap for this episode. But as I always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. You see, there are two types of men that listen to a podcast like this, those that go on from one podcast or show to another just hoping things are going to change and realizing that they’re going to be in the same place month after month, year after year.

You see, I was this guy so I completely get it. You may just not be ready. But there’s also a second man, a second man that listens to a show just like this. And this is a guy who takes massive action so they can shorten the learning curve, compress time, and get RESULTS to be the WOLF. See, WOLF is an acronym for Wise, Open, Loving, and Fierce.

Now ask yourself, which one am I? And just be honest with yourself there. And there’s no judgment on my end. But if you’re ready to move from deactivated DEER mode, which is Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React to activated WOLF, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce, then go over to thepowerfulman.com/grow. And go there now. In fact, I’ll make it super easy for you. I will even put the link right in the description here so you can just click it and go over there now to learn more. Guys, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Go from deactivated to activated, because like I said, life is too short for average and I’ll see you on the next episode!