This weekend one of my dearest high school friends was in town visiting and although we hadn’t seen each other in about 6 months or so, with only a few quick phone calls here and there or text correspondences in between, it was as if we hadn’t skipped a beat. You know that feeling of picking up right where you left off no matter the time or distance. One of effortless communication where there are no rules and expectations. It’s not about who calls who the most or touches base at certain points. Whether you are in touch every day, or once a week, or once a year, you just are and there is a special understanding between the two of you that all the rules and regulations we typically lay out for ourselves just aren’t necessary. As we were sitting in conversation catching up it got me thinking about the simplicity and ease of life.
How many of these types of effortless relationships do I have in my life? And on the contrary how many relationships are seemingly much more work? This week I would like to delve deeper into this aspect and speak to the element of communication and how as a single component it has the potential to be the driving force behind so many unnecessary stresses within our lives.
Come on admit it, we’ve all been there. On the receiving end of that phone call, text, or email that cause you to cringe at the thought of having to return or engage in. Have you ever thought why this is the case? What has happened within that relationship to make you feel this way? Is it you? It the other person? Is there a certain circumstance or reason that stands out that maybe has set the foundation for your mindset? Perhaps you feel misunderstood when speaking to them, nervous, unprepared, guilty, pressured, etc. … There could be a million and one reasons for feeling this way but that is not important at this time so let all those questions go. Instead, I want to shift our focus to how you move away from these feelings and prevent them from showing up within your space in the future.
I discussed a while ago the idea of control and letting go of the things we know we have no say so over and focusing then on what is within our power to change. I think if we actively apply this concept to the various relationships in our lives, i.e. friendships, work relationships, family relationships, and domestic relationships it really might be possible to create a harmonious symbiosis that enables one to feel at ease with nearly everyone we engage and communicate with.
I know, I know… you are probably thinking I’m crazy but let’s see if we can work our way through it.
Something I choose to live by with regards to communication is the motto to “know your audience”. One thing I have learned over time is the importance and significance of this action so if you take away nothing else from this blogging process I highly encourage you remember it, because it is a total GAME CHANGER.
There is a quote that says “Communication is not about speaking what we think. It’s about ensuring others hear what we mean.”- Simon Sinek. There is nothing worse than showing up to a conversation or interaction with another person and have what you are saying feel like it falls on deaf ears. Whether it’s the second party’s conscious intention, or not, this can be a lot of times where our frustrations or anxiety around engaging with certain people are derived from. So how does “knowing your audience” change this? Again, it goes back to listening. When you actively listen to someone else you create the opportunity to pick up on how they interpret information, drive conversation and over all interact with others. This is the key to knowing who your audience is, and instantly becomes the vehicle for better understanding the way in which you can control and drive your side of the conversation with them.
For example, we know you can’t control it if someone’s energy tends to naturally fall a bit lower than yours, if their mindset is seemingly more “glass half empty”, they are increasingly more sensitive, etc. … but knowing this about the person can help you to frame your approach and content within the conversation differently than you would with someone who’s adversely more positive or high strung and by doing this you now ensure that what you mean is being heard because you are able to communicate it in a way that is specialized and unique to your audience. Furthermore, the outcome of your exchange or conversation becomes much more beneficial and you feel much more accomplished with your word when all is said and done.
You're no longer hanging up the phone or leaving the room or office, feeling unheard, or like you wasted your time, or what you had to say wasn't of value.
As another example, think about the low key reasons why you share certain information with some people in your life over others. Why when if something good happens you’ll call person X but if something bad happens you’ll call person Y. To a certain degree you are already subconsciously putting in the work behind this ideal but imagine if every conversation and relationship, regardless of who it is with, had the potential to be just as fruitful, energizing, and meaningful.
So this week I challenge you to put this concept to work as you find yourself moving through your day. Instead of feeding into the feeling of nerves, anxiety, negativity or annoyance that certain conversations might foster, ask yourself how you can shift your approach to the interaction in order improve the outcome. Take notes of what changes you notice within yourself and those around you? Are you less stressed and relaxed? What effects does this have on how you show up to other arenas in your life? Do you notice your thoughts become clearer and additionally are your conversations more engaging and full of life? What is the reaction of your audience? Are you able to see or notice specific changes in the way they are now showing up?
If communication is often said to be the greatest key to success then let's really start saying what we mean and meaning what we say.