(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)
“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” ~Dalai Lama
The old adage goes, if you’re not going to say something nice than don’t say anything at all. Yes, silence speaks volumes but so can efficient communication and it’s a stretch sometimes when having to tangle with work while keeping peace on the home front.
Poor communication creates frustration and on a practical front, makes for inefficient interactions and inevitably can lead to stress or the monkey mind of coulda, shoulda, woulda. We make up stories in our head as we anticipate what will happen during a conflict, instead of being open to the ever-changing moment that might lead to a productive conversation. Strive for the 3 C’s: Co-creation of a Conscious Conversation.
Communication covers a broad territory. It comes in the form of meetings, phone calls, e-mail exchange, social media etc. We tend to lose sight of some basic tenets of effective communication in our new world. So keep the following in mind whether in a meeting or when communicating with someone via the many modes of technology:
- Technology can filter a message – don’t react from the gut.
- Everyone has their individual story – but that story can change in an instant due to info-overload. So be adaptable to change in someone’s attitude.
- Rapid fire communication via texting can quickly heat up a simple interaction.
- Perception is everything. Be willing to be a witness to what’s happening if conflict arises. Remember that you are co-creating a conversation. 2 sides to every story.
- When conversing, especially via technology, it’s smart to repeat – or mirror back to the person you’re communicating with – what YOU heard.
- Be mindful of how you end conversations and what the next step of communication or call to action should be.
Keeping the lines of communication open at work and at home is probably the most important factor in creating a less stressful work-life merge. Your “merge” might change on a daily or weekly basis, so an assessment of your S-O-C (state of communications) is crucial before you can set up your guidelines.
We tend to take communication for granted because there is such an ease of access to technology. The trick is to be more mindful of your communication. Your time is valuable. The analogy of examining communication as a meal works well. Remember that communication on any level is feeding your mind. As bestselling author Tim Sanders (Love is the Killer App) says, be aware of the diet you’re feeding your mind.
A. Communication Guidelines
- Don’t eat too late: Try to avoid interacting with people up to the moment you hit the sack. It’s stressful and could impact your sleep if the conversation or communication was upsetting or mind-consuming .
- Don’t over eat: Be sure to have an agenda for your communication and accomplish the task. Don’t keep gabbing on the phone to take up time.
- Don’t stand while eating: Be mindful and present in your communications. If we allow ourselves to be distracted we dilute the conversation, make it longer than it has to be and risk not accomplishing the task.
B. Assess Your Communication Streams
- Write a list of every type of communication stream that you plug into daily. For example, e-mail, BBM’s, texting, social media and the old-fashioned phone.
- Identify which forms of communication are you most comfortable using and at what times of the day.
- Limit extraneous communication to certain times of the day.
- Set time limits on phone calls and meetings. Have an agenda before you head into a conversation.
- Identify Energizing and Depleting Relationships. Make a list of the most important personal and work relationships. Assess which unions foster your growth as an individual.
C. Design a Communication Formula
Ask yourself about the three W’s :
- Who are the most important people you communicate with on a daily basis at home and at work.
- What is the most efficient form or technology that you can use with this person.
- When is the best time to communicate with this person.
In our rapidly changing business climate being mindful of how we are interacting at work and at home is increasingly important. How do you track your communications? Do you monitor and/or filter your communication at work or at home? If so, share your strategy!