Make time for communication.
I heard this as part of a larger conversation last week at a SAMI meeting, and it really hit home so I have been pondering it since.
Engaging with one another thoughtfully and fully is one of the most satisfying parts of life. It’s also a key to avoiding conflicts–one of the most frustrating, time wasting, damaging parts of life. How many times in our lives have we said, “Oh, I thought you meant this. You really meant that!” How much time, energy, and perhaps angst could have been avoided if we took time to communicate fully, openly and honestly.
Here are a few ideas for enhancing our practice of making time for communication:
- Work to find the highest level question. Rather than “Would you like cake or ice cream?”, ask “Would you like dessert?” In place of “How many minutes should this presentation be?”, ask “What are the key learning points? If you could wave a magic wand, what would be the very best outcome?”
- Let go of fears around asking for clarification. As many of us are bustling around, creating a lovely, large meal tomorrow on Thanksgiving, perhaps ask, “When you say the turkey will be ready at 3, do you mean carved and on the table, or coming out the oven?”, or “When you say you want to watch a little football, is that 1 hour, or 6?”
- Take time to really hear your friends and family, especially those who are different than you, or those who push your buttons. Sometimes when I listen to the person underneath the words, I discover them on another level that helps me to connect in a new way, and let go of the things that bother me. Maybe even say, “Hello Magnificent!”
As I write this, I realize that I started out thinking this practice is about respecting others by hearing them more deeply, but I have transitioned to understanding that it’s also about respecting myself enough to want a meaningful conversation, knowing that I am worthy of making the time. I feel more relaxed about the crowded kitchen tomorrow!
Like most things I write about here, you all know this stuff and my role is to hopefully provide a gentle reminder. I’d love to hear if this resonates with you and what you do differently in the coming days.
My best wishes for an amazing day, and Thanksgiving holiday. May you be blessed with wonderful family and friends, and life enhancing conversations. See you next Wednesday!