The Most Powerful Tool as a Great Communicator

Recent articles identified ineffective modes of communication. Let us move into modes that are simple, easy and effective.

The first part of communication is listening. This is not popular but it is the direction that we must head in order to be effective. Instead of a manner that implies “Hurry up! I have something to say!” We shift to being an open and receptive vessel. This has many profound results including:

1.People love to talk about themselves.
2.We offer an arena for healing where there might not otherwise have been one.
3.We give people the opportunity to really share instead of put on a front.
4.We shift ourselves to the position of giver; one who gets to gives space and hears the other person.
5.We build trust.
6.We learn to be gracious and allow others to be who they are.
These are only some of the many great effects of listening. Deeply listening is akin to meditation and miracles occur in the realm of meditation.

People begin to feel ok being themselves if they are really listened to.

When we allow the other person to speak and finish speaking before responding we are really listening rather than formulating responses to what is being said.

If you need to, you can take notes so that you can refer back to them when it’s time to respond. This quells the urgency to interrupt, which erodes trust. When we interrupt people, we are telling them that what they are saying is not valid. It also denotes a level of emotional immaturity.

There are times that it may be appropriate to interrupt. When someone is headed down a fear-path or caught in misperceptions it is sometimes important to disrupt that pattern. It takes time to tell the difference between when someone needs to simply vent and they are headed on a one-way course into drama. Usually a good sign is if they hurriedly replay the past and then want to get into solution mode. If you find yourself in need of venting, you can use your words and say, “I don’t need fixing and I’ll ask for some help in a minute, but right now, I need to vent!” This sets everyone up to win.

Here are some guidelines that can help you help others:

1.Know that you do not always have to respond.
2.Know that the other person is exactly how they are supposed to be in this time and space. You can demonstrate respect for the individual and refrain from making any suggestions or trying to “fix” the situation.”
3.When we relinquish control, we give others the dignity of their own experience. That means that we can see the divine order in what and who they are in this time and space.
4.We never know the big picture. When we can relax into that, we can breathe and make space for what is truly meant to happen, even if our little egos are fighting every step of the way.
Your Assignment:
Try active listening for the next week. When someone is talking to you, let them finish speaking, take several deep breaths, and then respond, if necessary. If you want to take this further, ask if they have finished and then whether or not they would like a response before providing one. This is a really respectful thing to do but it is rare. It will also train you for when you are in partnership or need to have a difficult talk with someone. As always, let me know how it goes!


3 Responses to “The Most Powerful Tool as a Great Communicator”
  1. Sarah,

    I appreciate your thoughtful remarks about active listening. My practice is built on similar ideas about presence, authenticity, and positive regard for others. When people mobilize these “ways of being” in their relationships they can improve themselves, help others, and make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing!

    Chris Groscurth

  2. Hi Sarah, do you go one step further with your ideas and give hints and tips on communicating with children?

  3. Elena says:

    A few years ago I took a course at Landmark Education called Communication: Access to Power. It is affectionately referred to as the love course. It is the most transformational course they have, in my opinion, and their whole educational model is transformation. We got to distinguish the current model of communication (doesn’t work) and created a new one, based on listening from nothing. What arises is love. My poor little heart was broken recently, and the fallout for me is that I find it difficult to just listen and not make things mean anything. I’ll be taking the course again in September. And thank you for the reminder. Your posts bring me peace and love.

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