A little while ago I wrote a blog titled “Let’s Talk”. Of course communication is always a challenge. Recently I asked for some feedback on a talk I did. At first I got these vague reassurances saying that it went okay. Then I remembered something I’d heard Bill Hybels talk about and decided to write “Let’s Talk Part 2”!
- The last 10%! After listening to these vague reassurances I asked for the last 10%. After some nervous laughter and a bit of tension in the air, I knew that I needed to amend the talk and do it again. Too often in communication we don’t have the courage to speak the last 10%. And sadly, that’s often where the real clarity comes. So we walk away thinking we have communicated when we really could have done better.
- Powering up. I am sure that you have you have heard yourself “power up” in a conversation. Powering up is language for getting forceful and even loud when you aren’t being heard or understood. Sometimes “powering up” is a form of abuse, because you want to force your view or opinion on others. Good communication requires being self aware, so that when you feel yourself starting “power up” you can dial back, regain your composure and find a better way to express yourself. Getting loud alienates and insults your listener.
- Embrace the tension. I think that sometimes we battle to keep things in tension. Agreeing to disagree can be liberating when done with integrity. Embracing the tension in an honorable way creates space for acceptance as well as fresh insights. You don’t have to be right all the time.
- The 3rd Alternative. This is a great Stephan Covey insight. When there is a deadlock between ideas, it often provides an opportunity to seek a third alternative that can take the relationship further with necessitating compromise. (Although compromise can also be okay).
- When this is about that. I first heard this idea from Rob Bell. We often get defensive or go on the attack around an issue. But what’s really going on is that we’re frustrated about some other unresolved issue and that is powering up this conversation. For example, we sometimes take our frustration out on a family member when we’re actually frustrated with something at work.
- Don’t finish someone’s sentences. It’s rude. Patience, my good fellow. Let them speak!
Hope this is useful.