By: Tiffany Whitaker
Communication Ally, Pushing the Envelope
As the new Communications Ally and team member of Pushing the Envelope, I thought it fitting to write about Communications and its many languages. However, I’m not talking about speaking French, English or sign language; I’m referring to the levels or stages upon which we interact. I’ve recently found myself reading communications blogs of successful women from different walks of life, all of whom shared an interesting, yet entirely different perspective on communicating. Here are a few of my favorites:
Whether intentional movements and expressions or natural reactions and projections, we are constantly communicating with our bodies and physical movements. These behaviors are picked up by the person we are interacting with, and likewise. Take notice of what you are projecting and interpret what the other person is telling you, communicating to you through their body language and gestures.
Language of Listen
You may recall Samantha’s interpretation of communication on this blog recently, The Passive Act of Communication: Listening. She expresses the importance of two-way communication, showing the other person that “their input matters.” Communication involves engaging the person you are interacting with, talking with them instead of at them. Try asking questions, listen to what the other person has to say and truly hear their message.
Beth Comstock, CMO at General Electric, shared a lesson she learned from former GE chairman and CEO Jack Welch after he hung up on her. After spending years in media and network news, she was too abrupt and she had to slow down. He was asking her to take more time to relate to people she was “communicating” with; get to them, where they are coming from, what is important to them. Sometimes we get caught up or distracted, are running through a never-ending list of tasks to complete that we miss out on the “why” we got into communications; the experiences and relationships.
Empathic listening is a mixture of communication skills and awareness to use when you genuinely want to connect. You can use it to applaud someone’s victory or to help uncover what’s really troubling them. If you allow yourself to empathize you can communicate on a whole new level. In her book “It’s All A Gift,” Miriam Adahan describes a friend who’s 8 month old baby was hospitalized with cancer. People kept telling her that everything was going to be okay when what she really needed was so express her feeling and have someone lend an ear and hear what she needed to say. Their forceful and “optimistic” message was actually hurting her more. Allow yourself empathize with a person, their situation, their angle or belief will make you communicate better in a situation.
Whether you’re new to a team (wink, wink), meeting someone new, making a sale, networking or even interacting with a loved one, remember there is more to communication than speaking. Taking note of the many levels or languages of communication can positively effect your life on both professionally and personally. Thanks for reading and if you need assistance with your communications, give us a call at (239) 221-2858 or visit our website.