So much has been written about the art and science of communication. As human beings, we communicate ALL the time – even when we are silent. Without belabouring the history and techniques of different ways of getting our ideas across, I thought I would share some of my own personal insights in one of the most powerful skills that we need to have in order to allow some of “our world out” and the rest of the world “in”
I believe that there are 3 cornerstones to successful “getting each other”. Here goes..
When we are distracted we miss things in conversation! When our attention is diluted, we miss out on so many clues about the actual “truth’ and meaning of what is being said. Some of these clues are:
- The type of words being used, the language itself.
- The tone of whats being said. This is LOADED with emotion, feeling, innuendo and suggestion.
- And indeed we also miss what is Not being said.
- We miss out on the body language that may accompany the verbal language.
After all, the spoken language is sometimes like speaking in code – one that needs to be deciphered. This code is informed by all that is you – your belief system, culture, principles, values etc etc…So, in my learning, one of the key cornerstones of successful communication is:
The art of being fully present. Receiving data. Rather than making interpretation – of words, of silence, of body language, of voice. Mindful presence.
I think it was Steven Covey who once said that one of the most validating things that you can do for another human being is to LISTEN – for them to be HEARD. Most times, communication is really about LISTENING – to hear, rather than to respond. People have infinite wisdom. They are empowered when they feel that someone “gets them”, when they have “connected” with someone – at the same frequency. Most times they are capable of solving their own problems and finding their own way. Some times you are merely a conduit from their mouths to their ears – when they can think themselves “free”, and unravel the noise in their heads. Sometimes, all you have to do is:
what you are hearing. Repeat their words. HEAR them. Working with data – with fact, rather than your interpretation of what you may think is being said (remember this is your code). Acknowledgement does not mean agreeing or disagreeing. Its simply listening, allowing them the space of presence!
It is only after full attention, acknowledgment that you can:
By “act” I mean move from inaction – from realm of quiet, listening and acknowledgement to perhaps asking for clarification, questioning with curiosity and interest rather than ‘acting” with the answers, a judgment, perhaps defensiveness – among the so many “agendas” that we go into conversations with. Acting from a place of neutrality creates the space for deepened “connection” and understanding.
In the end, perhaps, the gift of our attention, our acknowledgement of “their place” and the action from a place of interest, may help uncover their own awareness.
An awareness which may activates their own wisdom.