Assertiveness: Being an Effective Communicator

Effective Communication is all about assertiveness – rather than aggressiveness or submission

The first step towards becoming an effective communicator is practicing assertiveness, thus knowing how you are actually feeling. Did you know that your feelings are simply that: your feelings and nothing more? Their are neither good nor bad, nor anything else! These are just judgements that others – or even yourself – impose onto your feelings.

Photo credit: Wesley Fryer / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Wesley Fryer / Foter / CC BY-SA

Once you are aware of what you are feeling and you don’t get caught up in any judgements about them, you can begin exploring ways to deal with the situation. Assertiveness involves clear, calm thinking and respectful negotiation, where each person is entitled to their opinion. Simply say how you are feeling or seeing things by making “I statements” rather than “you” statements. There is a huge difference between saying: “you are always pushing me too hard” versus “I feel very tired because…”. The first sentence prompts your discussion partner to feel threatened, under attack, maybe even having more power than you. The second sentence simply says how you are feeling in response to something. This leaves the other person room to hear what you are saying without feeling blamed or under attack.

The most important part of effective communication is to be mindful of your own feelings, speech, thoughts as well as of the whole situation. If you are consciously cultivating this approach, you will be able to better resolve potential conflicts and greater harmony will slip itself into your discussions!

Further reading:

  • http://jennyebermann.com/tag/insight-dialogue/
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Full Catastrophe Living”
  • Gregory Kramer: “Insight Dialogue”

 

 

The Secret of Interpersonal Communication

Becoming an effective communicatorEffective Communication

I am sure that you have already attended a communications training of some sort in your life; be it to improve your communication skills, your team collaboration or to learn particular tools and methods that were supposed to enable you to become a better, more effective communicator.

As I wrote in an earlier post, communications is much more than its mere verbal aspect let alone a set of tools and measures:

Following a study of Albert Mehrabian, an American Psychologist, who looked into which aspects of communications are relevant to the actual understanding of information thus to effectively communicating:

  • The verbal aspect only accounts for 7 % (hence the content of what you are saying)
  • 38 % come from the paraverbal aspect of communication (intonation, cadence, volume or pace ) and surely not surprising:
  • 55 % from the non-verbal aspects.

BeatenbergOver the last weekend, I have been exploring a technique called “Insight Dialogue” which was recommended to me and really is mindfulness and awareness applied to interpersonal communications. While you pause and relax, you provide yourself with the opportunity to tune into your own feelings and emotions, stepping out of the habitual trigger-response mechanism and opening up, allowing (mutual) space for response rather than reactivity. While you trust what emerges and listen deeply, you finally propose an answer or input, which is truly beneficial to your counterpart or dialogue partners. You remain integer and compassionate not being entangled in emotions or feelings and clinging to words wanting to steer the conversation your way.

What a great way of connecting with each other and having a meaningful conversation. I am now even more passionate about including these techniques into my training, coaching and consulting work. Insight Dialogue certainly offers a wonderful way towards working on Self-Awareness and Management, Social Awareness and Relationship-Management all at the Center of Emotional Intelligence thus at the heart of Mindful Leadership.

Trusting Emergence

In order to move through the world with curiosity, sensitivity and closely attuned to your environment, being able to trust emergence and letting go into the change process is key. 

Gregory Kramer has the right words for this and I invite you to think about it over the weekend:

As you let go of plans, you are perched on the edge of possibility. Let the reminder to Trust Emergence arouse curiosity. What is happening now? Feel the truth of contingency and let it pull you out of any comfortable certainty. Attune to the unfolding moment and let your mind become nonresistive and pliable; let it move with experience. You can’t predict what someone will say, what will happen tomorrow. So you are waiting, relaxed in expectancy. Dwell in the moment lightly, with patience. If the mind wants to run ahead, to figure things out, remind yourself of the unpredictability of things. Let all plans fall away. Ride the moment. Locate the wisdom in not knowing. This leaves you open to anything, and not fearing change. Trust Emergence. – Insight Dialogue, page143

Jenny