Top 10 Ways to Communicate Powerfully!
Communication is more than the words we speak. Communication is about who we are and how we express ourselves and relate to the world. Communication is the message we deliver through nonverbal as well as verbal means. Communication is the ultimate expression of who we are.
Here are 10 ideas to consider. Experiment with these ideas to begin to experience communication and life more powerfully.
1. Be clear about what you want to express. What do you most want the other person or organization to understand? What is the primary idea, concept or message you want the other to understand as a result of your communication? Often we spend more time speaking about superficial matters rather than addressing the core, significant and underlying concepts. To communicate effectively with another requires an inner clarity and a thorough communication with your self (You can't make a request if you don't know what you want!). (Tip: Check in with yourself frequently and ask yourself what you most want from the situation. Any situation.)
2. Tact and good manners matter. But don't let good manners inhibit you from speaking your truth! If your communication isn't honest, integrity is lost and relationships suffer. Tact matters as much as honesty! (Tip: Ask yourself if you're hiding under the pretense of manners because "I don't want to hurt their feelings." Are you using this as an excuse to avoid acknowledging or expressing your perspective? Develop tact and be compassionate in your truthfulness.)
3. Precision matters. Expressing yourself fully involves choosing your words precisely. We're frequently sloppy in our communication and speak in vague terms. What suffers is that concepts and feelings don't come to life when we're not communicating clearly - our communication doesn't sparkle with life! Effective communication involves using precise language - words that accurately reflect and express our experience, perceptions, dreams, desires and disappointments. (Tip: the more specific your words are, the more profoundly others will understand you.)
4. Perspective matters. From what perspective do you speak? We each have different perspectives based on our positions, motivations & needs. Understand the framework you speak & listen from. Recognize that your framework influences how you listen and what you listen for. (Tip: Enhance communication by observing the filters and paradigms we listen through.)
5. Diversity & Common Ground. Diversity contributes an unparalleled richness and depth to our experience. Diversity expands our perspective and therefore, our communication. Learn the art of integrating diverse viewpoints by identifying the common ground. Identify the interests of the person you're speaking with, so as to find the shared purpose, perspective, motivator or values. This is essential for rapport and consensus building. (Tip: Identify and speak from common ground even as we live & communicate our differences. Appreciate that diverse viewpoints enlarge our perspective. Honor the differences and incorporate them into your perspective for a richer and more powerful communication. Create a context large enough to hold diverse viewpoints. )
6. Alignment & Congruency. When words and actions are aligned, powerful results occur! Lack of alignment between words and action creates conflict and results in a loss of power. The more consistently we align our actions with our values & intentions, the more powerful our communication becomes. (Tip: check in with yourself to ensure that your actions are consistently aligned with your intentions.)
7. Silence. Communication isn't only the words a person verbalizes - it's also the silence between the words. We learn about each other by what we don't say as much as by what we say. We learn about each other by listening to which topics we discuss as well as the ones we avoid. This occurs in all types of relationships - organizational, professional and intimate. What topics does your organization NOT discuss? What topics are avoided by your business partner or by your spouse? What do YOU avoid? (Tip: Listen to the silences as much as to the words for a deeper understanding of who the person or organization is.)
8. The nature of conflict. Conflict & differences of opinion are inevitable, unavoidable and enormously productive. We learn more from differences of opinion than from validation. While validation provides support & encouragement, it's our differences that create an expanded product or viewpoint. Don't avoid conflict -- seek to communicate with those who appreciate & can communicate differences of opinion. (Tip: Diversity expands our possibilities! Develop the skill of mediation so as to create powerful and synergistic outcomes.)
9. Communication contains context, text and subtext. Communication is the sum of our perspective (context), the words we use (text) as well as our personal motivators and perspectives (subtext). Subtext is also the meaning and the emotions that we assign to the text.
Communication involves all of these things. Effective communication therefore requires awareness, flexibility and an acute yet agile listening - there's a lot to listen for! (Tip: Pay attention to context, text and subtext for a more thorough listening & communication.)
10. Responsibility. Communication is about being 100% responsible for the other person's listening. This means that if you don't feel understood, you've not completed the job of communicating. Don't blame others for their not hearing you; take responsibility for re-communicating your position to ensure that you've been properly heard. Take responsibility not only for what you say, but also for how you're heard! (Tip: Don't be attached to your choice of words! Be flexible in your communication & be willing to re-think how you can communicate a concept in a different way, so it can be heard. Play with your words until you've found the words that properly express what you want to say. Re-format your ideas if necessary.)
"Accept your genius and
say what you think." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Copyright © 2001 by Jan Gordon. All Rights Reserved. This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Jan Gordon is required.