Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from
"auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all,
Quick Communication Tip
Although I often concentrate on
linguistics revealing our worldviews and the worldviews of others, let’s
not ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room called “tone.”
Along with body language, tone has great impact on our communication.
Even the lack of tone in e-mail causes its own misunderstandings.
Conversationally, you’ve felt how tone affects you. Yelling hits you
differently than cooing. The sound itself carries its own energy. Shout
at your pet how much you love him or her and watch as they duck or run.
Warmly, sweetly coo how much you can’t stand them and they’ll purr or
wag their tail. We’re not so far up the ladder from our pets. We share a
lot of biology.
Before our cerebral cortex gets a chance to start processing words and
language, the carrier waves (sound) have already impacted the
flight-or-fight part of our brain called the hypothalamus. If there is
congruence between word and tone, we process faster. If there is
incongruence, the information is passed to secondary systems. Now we’re
trying to figure out which is accurate, and if there’s a threat. All of
that extra work takes energy away from processing the initial message.
This means the initial message gets diluted and changed by the
over-processing (just like food).
We usually maintain congruence in tone and message when we’re being
conscious about it. When we’re not, our message can be taken off course.
Have you ever experienced somebody snapping at you about something that
had nothing to do with you? That extra processing, where you try to
figure out why this person is mad at you takes you away from hearing
their actual words.
We're probably all guilty of giving as well as receiving that mixed
message. None of us is entirely conscious all the time, but we can do
better. Enough of our communication gets trashed by our tone to be
worthy of attention. We can so easily solve the problem with added
consciousness that it becomes almost irresponsible not to do so.
If you want to reach higher altitudes; catapulting your communication
and relationship skills, give me a call or
email me. We can design a tailored program to fit your needs and
desired outcomes. There's no limit to how high you can fly.
- Ian J. Blei
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Quick Communication Tip:
Take a breath
We tend to escalate things we don't mean to escalate by not paying
enough attention to our tone. Fight or flight gets involved when it's
really not needed, and it's easy to fix.
1. Before you respond, regardless of the other person's tone, just take
a nice long breath. Maybe have a sip of water or whatever you're
drinking, and take another long breath.
2. Deliver your message in an even, reasonable, well-modulated tone. You
don't need to dramatize anything, and you really want them to hear your
Ian J. Blei
- the podcast series
KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
visit the Blog.
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Communication results in success, and how you can
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