Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.
The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?
Created: Sunday, 26 December 2010 02:04
Is your communication on steroids? Much of our communication is these days. Our language is inflated, hyped and accelerated.
We have lofty titles, embellished bios and evaluation systems that are so aggrandized that to give someone four out of five points is considered being critical.
My friend Wanda faced this issue when someone asked her to give his book a five-star review on Amazon.. She liked the premise, but found it a bit difficult to read. She would gladly give it a four star review. And to put that into context, she told me she would only give her own book three stars if she were to review it. But no - only five stars would do.
Then there's the frenetic, give it to me yesterday aspect of our language. We have an artificial urgency that keeps us racing around at "breakneck speed" until - guess what - we break.
Let's pull the plug. Let 2011 be the year we take our communication off steroids. Let's find our true voices behind the noise. It's a communication makeover that is really about uncovering the natural empowerment that comes from sincere communication.
Created: Sunday, 26 December 2010 23:50
From a reader:
All the very best to you for this festive season.
It is a few years back that I came across your "Power Phrases". With that in hand I started a journey which, so far, has included more books and courses, etc. Self-confidence, skills at handling situations, happiness, contentment, better relationships and a level of control of my life that I have not experienced previously, are the byproducts of this journey.
A daughter and her family are visiting. She was making a few digs and negative comments which I noticed. I had done something and she said, "Don't worry family, that's a Dad thing". So I considered if I would handle it, decided to do so and said, "Help me understand what just happened, were you cracking a joke or having a dig at me?" She said, "A bit of both". I replied OK, thanks I thought it was a dig and a joke. Since then there are more jokes and no digs.
I appreciate your decision to share your skills and knowledge. You have made a wonderful difference in the lives of thousands of people and made, in that way, the world a better place.
Created: Sunday, 26 December 2010 23:00
It's time to make the change official. For years, the SpeakSTRONG Method has been guided by the principles of communicating clearly, kindly and directly. That has felt a bit restrictive for some time now. That's why, in 2011, the guiding principles are changing to speak: clearly, sincerely and effectively.
Clarity communicates discernment - thoughts, facts and opinion. It gives voice to the mind. Clarity stays.
Kindness and sincerity are both communications of the heart. However, you can be kind without having your heart really in it. You can't be sincere without having your heart really in it. "Kind" is transforming into "sincere" in the SpeakSTRONG motto.
Direct and effective communication both are communications of will. Directness is a quality I and many of my readers have needed to develop. However, sometimes a less direct approach is more effective than direct one. We need to know how and when to be direct, and how and when to be indirect. We balance both approaches to be effective - and even transformative.
Would you like to develop the ability to speak clearly, sincerely and effectively in 2011? Join us for my New Year New You webinars. They're free! How cool is that?
Created: Sunday, 26 December 2010 00:00
Excuse me - my cultural diversity blinders were showing.
When I wrote my holiday message, I referred to what I thought was a universal experience of this season. The days are getting longer again.
I'm surprised none of my readers from down-under caught my omission. No one noted that their days are getting longer now. Malcolm?
Cultural diversity in global business can be tricky. I had thought I was being inclusive. I later realized that there was yet another step back for me to take. Fortunately, my readers are very gracious when it comes to pointing out the limits of my thinking, speaking and writing.That's the way we all need to be when diversity blinders show. That way our over-sights can be openings in understanding cultural differences. Read about that in my article Educate. Don't Excoriate.
Created: Thursday, 23 December 2010 17:05
It's often a challenge to picture what you're getting with a product, job or service from the initial description. My friend Wendy mentioned that in one of her interviews, she asked,
- Picture six months from now. I'm sitting in your office saying 'why didn't you tell me..." How might I complete the sentence?
I was talking about how difficult it was for me to picture what my website redesign would include. There are so many elements, and I take some for a given that others might not. In retrospect, here's a question I could have asked.
- When you turn the site over to me, what will it still need.
That would be a great question for a builder, too!
Created: Thursday, 23 December 2010 14:19
I hear a lot of obligation mixed with the holiday celebration. My community and I are clear that we don't believe in obligational reciprocity. We give gifts and accept invitations out of choice, not obligation. It's very freeing.
I read a blog post yesterday abut regifting. It talked about strategies to regift without risking the original giver finding out. I figure, once I give a gift, it's not mine anymore. I'm delighted if the receiver gets pleasure from passing something I gave them on.
So the PowerPhrase?
- It gives me joy to give this to you. There are no strings on it at all.
- Let's give gifts (or not) out of choice, not obligation.
A gift with strings and obligation can become a burden, In fact, it's not really a gift at all.
Created: Monday, 20 December 2010 21:05
READER COMMUNICATION QUESTION: Meryl, would you recommend an appropriate response for me regarding "misconstruing" a tone of voice? After coming come from my job one evening, I asked my husband if he had a moment so I could show him something. He'd been watching TV and I was interrupting. He replied in a nasty tone: "What is it?"
I said in what I am sure was a neutral tone", "I don't appreciate your tone of voice. Let's talk when you can spare a moment". He said: "Don't start with me." I said: "I'm not starting anything. You started being rude".
He said: "Your the one with the problem. You misconstrued my tone".
BUT, he immediately jumped up from the sofa and came to see what I had to show him.
As you may have guessed, our communication history does not follow your positive guidelines. His constant retort when I assertively say, without blame, "I feel ____ when you ____" is: "That's your problem!".
MERYL RESPONDS: Did his tone express irritation? I don't know. But what if instead of insisting he started it by being rude, you said,
- You're right. I did take your tone to be nasty.
What if, when he said "don't start with me," you said,
- You're right - I don't want us to fight.
What if, when he told you you're the one with the problem, you said,
- You're right, and I'm asking for your support in dealing with it. Here's what I'd like... Could you do that for me?
What if you refused to get adversarial with this man whom you chose to spend your life with? If you got over any sense of needing to respond in kind when you don't like his tone, and to win - unless it's to win by being the first to get to the heart. If you did that, I think you'd bring out the best in him, and that would be a real win for you.
Created: Monday, 13 December 2010 21:01
I've stopped working with some generally competent and likeable people because we couldn't get past Barrier #1 to effective communication skills. They guessed when they could have asked.
I think of one fellow who told me a week after I sent him a PowerPoint mock-up of what I wanted that he couldn't open the file. That's why what he delivered didn't match what I wanted. I get - I do it, too. But it's still a barrier.
I establish a policy with some of my associates of asking each other three questions about every task, even if we think it's clear. Amazingly, we almost always uncover some assumption.
Just ask. It's pretty simple. And yet, since we don't know what we don't know, it can be hard. But not as hard as ending a valued work association because you never quite got aligned with each other.