Posted by Ann-Maree M
The inspiration for me to write bubbled up inside this week. An event takes place and many pieces of life experience and learning, fall into place just as it does when that elusive piece of the jigsaw puzzle appears right in front.
Communication…a simple gesture, an expression, body language and words in any form, anyone of these or a combo of. Communicating…even when we’re not speaking with another we are in fact communicating. Thinking about that just for a moment, could it be that we don’t want to speak, are unable to speak or that we have other things to do, deemed to be more important.
We Cannot Not Communicate.
We are always communicating something to the world or at least to anyone who is paying attention. If we shut ourselves away from the world we choosing a form of communication – do not disturb without putting the sign out. This brings up an interesting thought – do we consciously give a thought to whether we want to communicate or not? Picture this …the phone is ringing and we know who the person is. Do we answer the call with enthusiasm, with dread or ignore the call? Why is that? Could it be the anticipation or the fear of what’s known, unknown, or what might be? I know there have been times when I could have handled myself better.
For a few years now I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many people and more often people will say communication is a strength. And yet in my experience working with teams is one of the first challenges encountered between people is when a communication challenge rises up or erupts. It could be something that was said, unsaid and inferred or interpreted through our set of filters resulting in a misunderstanding. The outcome can be friction, avoidance, conflict or a walk out.
I gained a few distinctions on communication when Shane Krider spoke about the topic at Influence Live. The seeds were planted. It was the topic at the time and then I let it go. I love Thursday mornings to tune into the weekly Born To Prosper podcast and the topic of having the desire to communicate came up again. The example Shane used was observing Rachel taking an incoming call and how she answered it – full of energy and vitality for the conversation to follow. To hear Shane, speak about watered the seeds planted in my mind just a few weeks back cruising the Canary Islands.
Later that day, I was putting my runners on to head out for a walk and had a light bulb moment. It was the combo of the call and an email I’d received an hour earlier that triggered the deeper thinking – I love those moments.
The light bulb moment for me was in receiving that email and being the observer just as Shane spoke about, checking in on how the person was coming across without judgement.
When I become aware of stuff like this it’s timely to check in to ask ‘when am I like that’?
When we’re going about our life and business, taking responsibility could be as simple as a check in – ‘do I want to communicate with his person and why’? Checking in with why has the potential to unmask any temptation to retreat due to the emotion coming up, even though we’re about to go through the motions of making the call.
Think about it – it could be with a stranger, the boss, the kids, the staff and of course your partner or even a first date. Taking responsibility for being authentic in how we communicate is the starting point. How the person we’re communicating with then chooses to respond is their responsibility. Together we’re each responsible.
With this in mind is it possible to have every conversation go to plan? Probably not.
After all we’re human and so is the person we’re communicating with. There are a range of outcomes from feeling aligned, neutral, excited, offended or defensive to name a few – every response is a choice by either party. Underneath that response can be an inflated ego, seeing ourselves as a victim, a martyr, a know-it-all, the pleaser or the struggler to name a few and all it takes to go into effect to another.
Surprise and Delight
Situations arrive to challenge us and like a balloon escaping into the sky, it can take some courage to let go of a not so great experience we’ve had with another. The flipside is when we treasure the conversation that had us feeling just that little bit special.
What if we were to treat the next conversation with anyone as if it was the very first time we’d spoken. I’m not referring to acting weird as if they’re a complete stranger, instead bringing the warmth and the vitality into how we show up and just as we would appreciate. Could that slight shift create a change in the dynamic between two people?
When we’re being authentic in our conversation we have nothing to fear. That’s giving ourselves and the other person the space to exist. Next time the phone rings or the text arrives, I’m taking a second look before I respond and to raise my awareness to a level where I have the desire to engage.
A big thank you to Shane and Rachel Krider continually raising our awareness and the bar on skills for life through the Prosperity of Life and Born to Prosper community.