I’ve heard it said that in heaven there is no need for speech because everyone is completely fulfilled. Here on earth, however, speech is a necessity. We speak to address our unmet needs. We speak in response to the needs of others. We speak to connect, to create intimacy by sharing more of ourselves than can be initially perceived. We speak to be known.
Effective communication is a most powerful thing. Practicing effective communication can positively impact our interactions, relationships, mediation experience and outcome, and our day-to-day lives.
Considering the important reasons we converse with one another, how we do so is worthy of our attention. Is the manner in which we communicate consistent with our overall goals in communicating? Is our communication behavior aligned with our purpose?
We tend to focus a lot of energy on stating what we wish to say, but far less attention on whether our message is being received in the intended way. We also tend to spend little time on considering our intention in the particular communication and in designing our communication to best align with our goal.
The more specific and literal you can be with your exact goal, the greater the likelihood of having a satisfying communication. It may seem funny or artificial, but repatterning our communication to be more thoughtful can bring rewards of self-care and more rewarding relating to others.
When you communicate, keep the end in mind.
A lot of us communicate the way we do most things – habitually and unconsciously. We talk without thinking; we say things without really considering how it is going to be interpreted or whether it is going to bring us closer to what we want. How our message will land on our audience is worth our consideration. Words affect us deeply and yet we often treat them as though they are inconsequential.
It may seem contrived or manipulative to give this level of forethought to our communications, however, I want to suggest that it may actually be a shift to a more responsible, mindful way of being. Consider that even running a simple errand requires some initial planning. Our communications, which can have a much more significant impact than picking up a bottle of shampoo, deserve at least as much consideration.
Therefore, identify your objective prior to commencing communication. There are certain communications that we typically put a lot of thought into – those where we are heavily invested in the outcome. For example, if we are asking our boss for a raise, or discussing the future of our relationship, we may prepare and plan, the when, where and how. We are much more thoughtful when the result is more Important to us. Our day-to-day communications are deserving of a comparable level of consideration. How you speak to someone not only reveals much about you, it also has the power to affect how the other person feels about you, and himself. Children are severely shaped by how they are spoken to. I’m suggesting we invite some of this care into our adult communications.
How might your outcomes differ if you set a clear intention prior to commencing communication? How might the outcomes be different in one of your more impulsive communications if you had your intention firmly in mind before proceeding?