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Tag Archives for " communication "

What does careful communication look like

I have a desire to constantly be stretched. I love that feeling in my brain when I can feel new understanding happening and deeper insights being grasped. Do you?

In my desire to be stretched regularly I plan out activities and events in my calendar. I d so that each year I do one or a number of things the keep my brain expanding.

In 2018 I did a number of things but during November I put all of my in-kind community volunteering hours into assisting a young woman in her attempt to secure a seat in the Victorian parliament.

Not only did I know that the values that would drive the campaign would align with mine I had also spent enough time in her presence to know that she was making this run at the Victorian parliament with the best of intentions.

I cleared my calendar for the whole of November and dived into being her campaign manager.

What did I learn about careful communication during this intense month?

Mostly I learnt about myself, of course. But I also learnt about the power of communication to connect. I learnt this for myself and I watched it happen with Jacqui.

Pascal  Molenberghs, in an article about inspiration and leadership, talks about language and the use of we and I when involved in communication. He also talks about developing a vision and creating outcomes. These were such essential elements in the campaign. However, Molenberghs’ article needs to include more detail. Specifically about the importance of how to carefully communicate around these apparently simple concepts.

What are the tips for careful communication for a hectic election campaign?

Here are my top five.

1. Make the time to communicate

If you are rushed for there is significant pressure that hearing the message is hard and important ideas are missed or misunderstood.

2. Make a space to communicate carefully

If it is noisy find somewhere else or ask to revisit the communication at a better time.

3. Make a space to communicate carefully

If you are distracted or pressured find another time.

4. Stick to the point

If there is angst and confusion attend to the issue but continue to paraphrase as the communication continues so that the messages remain focused on the issue.

5. Ensure you are listening

If you feel yourself distracted reapply your careful listening skills.

Julian Treasure gives a terrific short talk about listening and what our brain does to assist us with listening. He talks about how much harder it is to “pay attention to the quiet, the subtle and the understated”. However, this is exactly what I saw during the campaign. The importance of listening and making the time to listen meant that Jacqui almost did it. She almost won the seat. And she did it because she carefully communicated with everyone she came in contact with.

What are your top tips for careful communication?

Careful Communication Stretch Series

Affectus will be launching our Online “Careful Communication” Series which will allow you to enhance you skills. These two 2-hour workshops will provide you with the Kickstart for your careful communication.

The workshops will provide you with the following:-

  • A thorough overview of the theory of communicating – speaking, listening and formulating your key messages.
  • A clear understanding of the communication environment you can create
  • The development of Careful Communication processes
  • Traps to avoid to ensure your ideas "get through".

The session will be jam-packed with theory, tips and practical knowledge to move you towards being a Careful Communicator.

Get a kick-start to your messaging for 2019.

If you are interested in engaging through careful communication with your children, your partner and your co-workers. Register here for Affectus Careful Communication Stretch Series.

The art of listening

Have you thought about how you are communicating with those around you?

What about rethinking your day-to-day communication? Especially now that the start of the year “catch-up” is over.

And not wanting to jump the gun because for some holidays are still on but, what about your children as they head back to care and school?

Let’s start by making a bold statement.

The importance of communication can’t be over stated.

We hear statements like “keep communicating” and “take time to it communicate” but what is communication and how can you up your prowess?

What is communication

Communication is the skill we all employ to move our thoughts from our mind into another’s conscious thought.

Don’t you wish it was that simple?

It is a simple concept. An open mind connecting with another open mind through speaking and listening.

However, what we know, day-to-day is communicating isn’t that easy. We continue to work under the assumption that “I am talking and so the person I am talking at is listening”.

From my experience and observations it is clear that we all try to communicate effectively but “life” gets in the way of us communicating well.

So, let’s start with the element of listening.

The element of listening

How would you rate your listening on a scale of 1 to 10?

Are you an 8 or somewhere near a 10?

How do you know this? How have you developed your self-awareness?

Or do you figure you are closer to the middle or the lower end of the scale?

When have you been given this feedback and by whom? Have a think and explore your understanding of “me as a listener”.

It is important to understand the components of this communication element.

Can we make a commitment to listen better in 2019? I wonder?

Last year I was told, in a particularly stressful environment, that I wasn’t listening. I found that a challenging comment as I thought listening was one of my skills.

On reflection, I realise I wasn’t doing all of the listening components at the time. And that was because I was juggling a number of activities at one time. So, what did I learn that will assist you?

The components of listening

  • You need to stop – physically. Stop what you are doing if you are going to listen. This “stopping” signals to the rest of your physicality, and the speaker, that you need to take up a listening posture.
  • You need to stop – mentally. You need to take a moment to compartmentalise what you were attending to and be completely aware of the other person.

These were steps I thought I was displaying. But I wasn’t signalling to the speaker that I was listening because I was not physically positioning myself. I hadn’t stopped walking nor had I turned my body in a manner that demonstrated I was listening.

And I also know, because it was at that moment that I was told “you are not listening”, that my eyes were not focused on the speaker. They were flitting around my environment as I tried to keep a handle on the activities that my attention had been taken from.

So, therefore, I needed to mentally and physically get myself switched on to listen. But I also forgot to shut down my other thinking, which was saying “there is something else (more important?) that you need to be attending to”.

How can you keep that part of your thinking under control? How do you keep that part of your mind under control so that you can be fully listening?

A lesson in listening

Well here is my learning.

I know I am truly listening when the speaker stops talking and I am able to reflect back what I have heard. AND that it takes me some time to add my opinion.

In moments of listening, really listening, I have managed to completely shut down the parts of my brain that think:

  • “what else is going on”
  • “oooo I can tell you about that”
  • “golly have I got an opinion about that idea”

It’s hard to do. But it is rewarding.

What are your personal processes that drop you into to ensure you are effectively listening?

In 2019, let’s listen. Let’s set up our behaviours and thinking so that we can slot into effective listening – as soon as we comprehend that listening is required.

The Art of Careful Communication

What is communication?

I suppose the importance of communication can’t be over-communicated. But really, what is communication?

A bit of a revision lesson here.

Communication is simply (wry smile)…transferring your thoughts into words (written or spoken). And then sharing them with the world. And trusting that the way in which you have transmitted those thoughts ensures that the people receiving your communication synthesise the content in a way so that closely resembles your thoughts. So that sentence wasn’t simple and we know, intuitively, that the practice of communication is not simple either.

On the other hand when we are in the presence of a skilled communicator that movement of “a thought to your thought” is easier.

Often when in a leadership learning experience, the entrance point to re-examining our communication prowess is speaking. This can give the impression that speaking is the most important communication element. Please don’t misunderstand me, nailing your public speaking, is important but listening is the first element to attend to.

I recently spent time in the presence of a focused woman. And I spent significantly more time in the car with her as we travelled our region of Australia, assisting her to understand the community issues. I was assisting. She was the key person in our team and it was a gift for my understanding to watch her and then reflect on what I had observed.

Now before I go ahead and provide you with my observations here is my challenge to you – ditch “great speaker = amazing public address” thinking, perhaps just this once, and consider someone you know who has listened to you as you spoke.

  • How did you know you were being listened to?
  • What was the interaction like when someone listened to you?
  • And how did you feel when you were being listened to?

The art of careful communication

The art of careful communication is getting yourself set to hear and understand.

Do you set yourself up to hear and understand when you are listening?

What does Careful Communication mean?

Careful communication could mean a number of things. Careful has one meaning which suggests caution and tentativeness. The other definition is more useful to my mind…done with thought and showing attention.


Let’s go back to remembering how you felt when you were listened to. When we are listened to we feel that the other person is giving us their attention and doing it in an open, thoughtful way. Are you listening in a careful way now? I hope so.

If we (definitely read “I” here also) commence our careful communication with careful listening as the starting action then all sorts of opportunities open up to us.

I think about all of you as I write, this our community all over Australia. And I see all of you heading...

  • back into your work tomorrow
  • your family room in 10 minutes
  • to your car with your teenager or your toddlers bedroom
  • your school starters classroom

and I think about you all in careful communication mode. And I see problems diminished and others being valued.

Doesn’t that sound like leadership?

So, what is the Art of Careful Communication?

The art of careful communication is, of course, not only about listening. It is also about speaking.

Consequentially, I would consider similar principles.

Talking extraverts - are they any other sort? I believe there is. As one, if I could also bring to my oral communication the same principles of thought and attention how much more effective might I be. I would be considering my words before I say them and I would think through the audience. And I would be imagining the transfer of the information into the persons' thought-processes.

What else would I be doing?

Well, I would also be attending and pay attention to the responses of those I am speaking with. Looking at their faces and unconscious reactions to what I am saying. Building on this feedback and adjusting all elements of my communication.

The careful art of communication is about thinking about the other…not thinking about self.

This doesn’t mean not having ideas and opinions. What it does mean is considering and acknowledging that communication is always two-way and for it to be two-way we have to do carefully.

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