Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Can We Talk - About Communication?

Why is it that every single time I ask clients what they believe could be improved in their organizations the answer is “communication”?

It’s also interesting that very few of us seem to be able or willing to admit that the first place our communication skills need to be brushed up on is with those of us who recognize the disconnect. In other words, I need to be a better communicator myself before I can expect my organization to be better at it. We're all really good at recognizing our lack of communication skills, but how many of us are committed to doing something about that?

I’m also really interested in what it means to be an effective communicator. How would we define that?

Earlier this week I listened to Marianne Williamson talk on XM radio about a really controversial topic (so controversial I’m not even going to mention what it is) but the way she introduced it is to say that nearly everyone has his or her own opinion about it already, even before entering into any kind of dialogue about it. So what would be the purpose for having a conversation about a controversial topic? If people have very strong opinions about topics like politics or religion, and are not interested in learning anything other than the way they see it, we’re really not talking about a dialogue, but a discussion, which is more about getting someone else to agree with an already-established point of view.

What if everyone had as their first intention mutual respect, rather than that old familiar fear which keeps us stuck in our own viewpoint? What if we concentrated more on the many, many ways we as humans are alike than the few ways we are different? Might we find much more common ground, even over those topics we find the most controversial?

For me, that really has become my intention whenever I meet someone new. I’ve shared stories here about times I’ve found myself with preconceived ideas and opinions about people or situations and what I’ve learned by being open to what I can learn from them.

It really is true in my life that the more open I am, the more amazing situations I learn from and the more expanded my worldview becomes. I realize more and more that regarding my thoughts, I really am right about what I attract into my space: if I'm negative and crabby and believe the world is negative and crabby like me, I'll find that. If I'm positive and upbeat and believe that's the way the world is, I'll find that.

So let's see what we might be able to create by being more open-minded in our communication opportunities. It makes no sense to keep living a less-than-extraordinary life by remaining trapped in our old familiar worldviews, especially if they're not allowing us to see the possibilities.

Only YOU (and I) can prevent ineffective communication!


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