I’ve recently noticed a trend: more and more people, with different backgrounds, become interested in improving their communication!
My last workshop “Attitudes for Effective Communication” attracted 58 engineers. I loved their curiosity and participation. “It’s a good topic.”, a participant said at the end, “It brings up our awareness to a more successful communication in everyday life in every area”.
While that workshop and other articles I wrote focus on interpersonal communication, not so many people are aware of their communication with… themselves! This is an even more powerful type of communication, because it offers a better control on what we can change for better results … if we become aware of it, and know how to improve it! It does not replace the interpersonal communication, but it could make it more effective!
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say Dave wants to improve the communication with his colleague, Andy. His boss also told him to improve his communication, but he doesn’t know where to start. While noticing how Andy talks to him, Dave wonders what could be a better approach to answer him. He thought that Andy is patronising and trying to control him, which make him feel uncomfortable in Andy’s presence (which doesn’t help to mange better their communication). What Dave might not be aware of, yet, is that he assumes what Andy’s behaviour means, based on his own (Dave’s) perception of reality.
Assuming something is the outcome of an internal dialogue we have with ourselves, based on the learning we’ve accumulated through our own life experiences and what we’ve been taught. It might or might not be what is really going on with the other person, his beliefs and behaviour.
In a coaching session I had a similar situation. When I invited the client to explore his own assumptions, he realised that his colleague’s behaviour might be related to how he reacted in the past to a risk taking situation. Challenging further my client to explore this topic, he noticed that he has a similar behaviour toward his child regarding risk taking… and it is related to something from his own childhood.
The life brings in front of us mirrors of who we are in the moment or what we judge, and if we pay attention, there are powerful lessons to learn! And when we learn them, we increase our awareness, and more options become available when facing a similar situation in the future. Our behaviour becomes less bonded to something that happened in the past. Also, by changing our behaviour, other people’s behaviours toward us changes as well or we start perceiving them in a different light.
Are you aware of how often you assume something and make decisions, without verifying with the other person if your assumption is right?