(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.)
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.
“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” ~Dalai Lama
Poor communication creates frustration and can make for inefficient interactions, inevitably leading to stress or the monkey mind of coulda, shoulda, woulda whether at work or at home.
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. There at least 2 people in the conversation. Don’t talk at people. Speak WITH them. And be fully present in the conversation – not multi-tasking with your Black Berry.
Communication covers 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 hi-tech global world. So keep the following in mind whether in a meeting or communication with someone via the many modes of technology:
- Technology can filter a message and make it something it’s not. So don’t react from the gut.
- Everyone has their individual story – but that story can change in an instant due to info-overload. Be adaptable to change in someone’s attitude.
- Rapid fire communication via texting can quickly heat up a simple interaction.
- Communicating with family and colleagues requires different sensibilities. Be aware of the blur and boundaries in the work-life merge. You’re probably going to speak to your mother in a different tone than a colleague.
- 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.
Being Conscious of Your Communication
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. So keep the following in mind:
1. 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 .
2. 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.
3. 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.
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!!