Never miss a good chance to shut up. – Will Rogers
Whether in the work world of leadership, collaboration and teamwork, or in our personal lives (24/7 news, social media, and family life), effective communication is both key to our success and bane of our existence.
Electronic media sources yap at us all day, bringing news and information of both a critical and often irrelevant nature.
Email has become an essential tool but incessant demands for immediate response clogs our brains and keeps us from considered and thoughtful communication and connection.
Conversation, even with loved ones, is often trite or clipped because we don’t have “enough time.”
It’s a choice, however, to become overwhelmed, desensitized or checked out in our communication.
If you want to have more meaningful and productive relationships at work or at home, try this:
1) Go on an electronic fast. Set aside time in your day and week, other than sleeping, to disconnect from electronic sources. Setting aside at least 30 minutes a day off your email, phone, etc. at work to think and prioritize can be a balm in a stressed out work day. At home, create and honor boundaries around email, phone and social media use. Whatever it is will likely be there tomorrow.
2) Instead of speaking first, wait. Pause for a minute. Use the letters in the word “WAIT” to serve as a reminder to ask yourself: Why Am I Talking?
Invite the other person – your co-worker, your spouse, your child – to speak first by asking an open ended question (that is, can’t be answered by a yes or no).
3) Be present and actually listen to the person you are with. You give people a tremendous gift when you listen fully, without interruption from phones, email, texts, music, or other distractions, including your own mind-chatter and opinions. As Woody Allen said, 90% of life is about showing up. Show up fully for your conversations.
4) Respond with intention. What is it that really deserves and needs to be said? What serves this person, or this situation, in this moment? What doesn’t need to be said, right now or possibly ever?
In the Comments below, let me hear from you!
What helps you connect meaningfully with others around you, either at work or at home?
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Image credit: iStock