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
The Dark Matter Between Us
recent years, astronomy and cosmology have been looking at something
they can’t see: Dark Matter.
In simple terms, Dark Matter is matter that we can’t see directly, but
is inferred to exist from its effects on what we can see.
It’s estimated to make up 80%
of the matter in the universe, while ordinary matter makes up only 20%.
This makes it a great metaphor for communication.
Communication is the Dark Matter in, around, and between every one of us. It both separates and connects us, and is as much a
mystery as a paradox. We're so used to floating within it, that we take
the mystery for granted. We become less-than-conscious of its existence,
its complexities, and most of all, how much we depend on it every day.
For the most part, we become aware of communication issues in the same
way as we become aware of Dark Matter in space; not by observing the
communication itself, but by observing reactions or movement in the
This puts us in the position of observing reactions, and then reacting
to those reactions – which isn’t the most self-directed strategy. The
alternative is attempting to observe this Dark Matter (communication)
directly, rather than relying only on the observation of reactions to
it. Of course, a combination of both gives the most information.
Start With the Mystery
We often try to answer as many unknowns as possible up front with
people. This is partially from our desire for understanding (the high
road) with a helping of impatience (the not so high road).
Unfortunately, to do this we usually fill in a lot of blanks on our own;
also known as assuming and projecting. Big mistake. This is where that
Dark Matter comes in. When we make our assumptions, we might be right -
or not. If we keep going merrily down the road of that conversation,
sales call, or negotiation, with incorrect or inaccurate information,
we’re not likely to get the outcome we’re looking for. Assume nothing
and you’re forced to ask questions to fill in those blanks.
It’s one thing to empathize with someone, but as soon as the voice in
our head says, “if it were me, and I did or said that, it would mean
_____,” we need to apply the old brain brakes and remember that they’re
not us, and we won't get the meaning until we ask.
Life is Very Different on Your Planet
As we’re shaped by our life experiences mixing with our genetics, our
view of our surroundings is our view, not the way things are. It may
sound obvious, but remembering that this is not objective is incredibly
important and powerful when interacting with other beings who have their
own distinct views. These views shape our
language and our communication styles, so there is no escaping them.
Interestingly enough, this is a two-way street. By listening carefully
to someone’s language and communication style, you can gather important
information about the way they see the world around them (remember to
ask questions to stay on the right track). Once you understand their
view, you can meet them in their experience of the world. Are they drawn
to aspirations of ideals or comforted by thoughts of security? Do they
see patterns of sameness or do the differences in things jump out at
them? Do details bore them or intrigue them? Does taking action excite
them or scare them? Do you see how knowing these things could enhance
any conversation, sales call, or negotiation?
The Final Frontier
Once we become more adept in listening
with our sensors turned up, we can take our communication to an even
higher level. Those very words, images, and metaphors that allowed you
to get a peek inside the other person’s view are yours to use as well.
If you learn that someone is goal-oriented, fast, sees patterns of
sameness, and is competitive, you can shift your language and pace of
delivery appropriately. Conversely, that very approach and linguistic
style would completely irk someone who considers himself to be a
"deep thinker" and rationalist.
Imagine really connecting with the people you live and work around,
without misunderstandings getting out of control, and being able to
communicate with them in their native language? How much more effective
could you be? How much conflict could you prevent? It’s all about
shining a light on the Dark Matter we call communication. When it’s
clear, visible, and intentional, it becomes Conscious Communication.
Quick Communication Tip
What prevents us from learning things is usually believing we already
know things. This is a popular defense mechanism for many people;
staunchly asserting that they know already. Of course if we have that
space all filled up with our already knowing, there’s no room for
something new to come in. If we think we already know what someone is
going to say, we don’t really listen. We wait for their mouth to stop
moving, and say what we thought was the best response to what we already
knew they were saying.
Unfortunately we’re often either dead wrong, or at least missing a piece
that we hadn’t thought of, and hadn’t left room for the other person to
contribute. Sometimes that piece is integrally important, and changes
the whole conversation. Now we’ve missed it, and triggered the other
person by obviously not listening to them. One little bit of suspending
that “already knowing” would have kept this train from going off the
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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