Conscious Communication: bringing communication
up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above
in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.
Quick Communication Tip
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Isn't it time to get your
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joyously support one another? It doesn't have to be so difficult.
Your Tone with Me!
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. Ever get interrupted by someone just as you hit your thumb with
a hammer (or the equivalent?) They’re likely to hear about it as if it
was their fault - and then we apologize afterward.
That might be an extreme example, but the fact is: 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.
Before You React
Chapter 26 in “Kind
explores this concept more completely, but one piece of it is directly
related to tone. When we speak without thinking, our words and tone fly
like debris from a lawn mower. The odds of actually communicating what
you intend to communicate make for a bad bet.
Taking a second to pause, choose your words, remember the real person
you’re addressing, and choose your tone accordingly will greatly enhance
your interactions. This will enable you to communicate more effectively,
without all the reactions that take over; and take you both off track.
If I’m doing my taxes, frustrated and maybe annoyed, and you call me on
the phone, I can either mindlessly grab the phone and answer with all
the annoyance and frustration in my voice, or take a second to compose
myself before I begin the interaction with you. It’s a conscious choice.
Here’s something you can do right now that always has a positive affect
on both you and whoever you’re interacting with: smile. I’m not saying
“grin like a fool.” Just smile. Merely smiling (even on the inside) has
a powerful impact on your physiological state and biochemistry. It’s
very difficult to be cranky when you’re smiling; your body just won’t
Likewise, when you’re on the phone with someone, they can tell if you’re
smiling or not. Your tone gives you away, and the conversation can take
a more positive path.
Try yelling at yourself in the mirror while you’re smiling. You’ll crack
yourself up. Following that, notice your feeling/thinking/being state.
Your mood will be elevated, regardless of how you were feeling before.
This is just one tiny way you can consciously shift your biochemistry
and subsequent mood.
The best part is it’s contagious, rather like a yawn (perhaps just one
more place where
in the brain have their impact). Remembering that we can shift our mood
and the mood of those around us, merely by smiling and being conscious
of our tone, gives us more power and control of our interactions than we
might have believed possible. So have some fun with this, and see how
you can make things a little more positive for yourself, and those
around you. Use a positive, smiling tone, and watch what happens.
Quick Communication Tip
That Face in the Mirror
studies have been done observing significant changes in people’s
behavior when there is either a mirror or a closed-circuit image of them
in view. Most of these studies indicate a significant uptick in people’s
honesty, integrity, and commitment.
Not to invoke an epidemic of vanity, but perhaps you could see what
happens when you have a mirror handy when you’re making phone calls or
talking with people. As you dial that number, or before answering the
phone, take a second to look in the mirror and smile. Maybe go all out
and make a silly face at yourself that cracks you up.
Then when you’re talking with them, keep that smile going. Check the
mirror every once in a while to see if you’re still smiling. Notice how
the call goes. Notice the tenure and “feel” of the conversation.
According to some very real science, you will most likely notice very
positive results. The worst case scenario is feeling a little better.
Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or
catapult you forward? Come visit the
or better yet,
contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.
- the podcast series
KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Personal Life Media -
"Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (full interview)
for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain
2nd Edition now available
visit the Blog.
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characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were
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Institute for Integral Enneagram
Without Losing Your Soul
about you having
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driver’s seat of your
Circumstances will always be
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is written for you,
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right now. It is a collection of
insights and actions designed to help
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The chapters hold to a formula of
first giving you a new way to look at
things, then offering you tangible
Action Steps to try them out, and
finally some things to notice when you do.
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-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media
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We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The
good news is: they can be overcome. The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."
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