“Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way.” –John Kotter
Is your communication clear or calculated?
A theme in many of my sessions this week with clients was a desire to talk about a conversation they were anticipating having and get advice on what to say. After they told me the story behind the anticipated conversation, went through all the things they think they should say and all their concerns about how the other person would react, I asked: “What do you just want to say?” That was an easy question for each of them to answer. The words flowed and the angst was gone. My next response: “How about if you just say exactly what you just said?” Then all of a sudden the concerns returned along with all the reasons why they couldn’t just say what they wanted to say. What the other person would think, say or do once again became more important than their own truth.
Can you relate? Do you often plan out conversations in your head before you have them? Do you go to multiple people for advice on what to say? Do you “backpedal” in your communication meaning you think first about the end result you want and then script a conversation to create that result? Are you being strategic in your conversations more than you are being present and authentic?
Of course it’s natural to want to prepare ourselves for a conversation with someone, especially if it is about something of great value to us or feels like a confrontation of some kind. However we often become so attached to what the other person will think, say or do that we become overly analytical and strategical, rather than clear and honest.
Strategic communication is like playing chess. Rather than just speaking from our heart, we over-think all our moves and try to anticipate the other person’s next move. But have you ever watched people playing chess? Do they appear joyful, expressed, or connected? Or do they look very serious and in their head? If you are communicating strategically rather than authentically, you are going to experience more restriction in your ability to express yourself. The person you are communicating with is not your opponent. He or she is just another player in the game of life who is also yearning to connect with people more authentically.
My encouragement to you is to set the intention to be authentic and truthful in your communication. The place you are coming from when you speak is just as important (if not more) than what you say. If you are coming from a place of attachment to the outcome of the conversation or what they other person will think, it impacts your ability to truly speak your truth. And if you are communicating from this place, are you truly creating the results in your life that are in alignment with who you truly are? For instance, I see a tendency in many of my clients to be overly analytical in communication related to dating. They try to strategically come up with the “right” things to say to get the other person to like them. They start playing a game rather than playing all out as themselves. And then a relationship is built on games rather than truth.
Get out of the game of strategizing and into the game of life by speaking your truth! Don’t make communication a chess game.
About the Author: Christine HASSLER, Monthly Mentor, is the best-selling author of three books, most recently Expectation Hangover: Free Yourself From Your Past, Change your Present and Get What you Really Want. She left her successful job as a Hollywood agent to pursue a life she could be passionate about. For over a decade, as a keynote speaker, retreat facilitator, spiritual psychologist and life coach, and host of the top-rated podcast “Over it and On With It”, she has been teaching and inspiring people around the world. Christine believes once we get out of our own way, we can show up to make the meaningful impact we are here to make. Read More…