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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Respond in Kind

Communication 101
We are talking about communication. We have reached the “final” step in good communication.
We have opened our minds, hearts and senses  to really observe the person speaking with us. We have helped them finish their story, and asked questions for clarification.
Now, we breathe and respond.
Breathe first.
The breath gives us time to focus. It also gives us a chance to relax any physical tension we may have built up in the telling of the tale.
In the beginning of our response we demonstrate our focus by repeating the important or salient points of the story. We hope to show them that we have paid attention, that they matter and that we care. This also gives the speaker a final opportunity to make any corrections.
Once we are certain we have the story correct, we can cogitate and ruminate for a bit; and give an appropriate and suitable answer.
Communication is a dance, and a slow one at that. In our faced-paced world, no one has time to listen. And, in fact many of us have forgotten how to listen to other people.
These are really simple skills. As the saying goes, “this is not rocket science.” But, like everything else that we wish to do well in or be good at, if we do not practice, or we do not exercise, we lose all of our good graces, manners, and the appearance of having common sense and decency.
Good communications drill
  1. Listen. All senses focused.
  2. Engage them with words to them help finish their story.
  3. Ask questions to clarify.
  4. Respond. 

Going forward
My suggestion is that you make the time or take the time to make the time, take the time. Practice with someone when it’s not a critical conversation. Practice at a time when the stakes aren’t high, and its okay if you mess up. You don’t even have to tell the other person that you are practicing, just put your phone down when you are with them. Give them your full face and your full attention.
Then perhaps, you will be ready when the conversation is crucially important.
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