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Tag Archives for " leadership communication "

Careful Communication

Are you thinking about your communication? Wondering why listening is important?

Let's move from the careful listener space to how it feels to be listened to. There will be questions asked to assist you to remember and then reinforce the importance of listening and the space of leadership and trust that a listening environment builds.

So, what is careful communication and why has Affectus claimed this concept?

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

What does Careful Communication mean?

Careful communication starts with understanding careful.

Careful means to be done with thought and showing attention.

What would listening, and the broader communication space, be like if we were careful in our communication? Careful communication is to engage in a communication process with thought and attention.

Careful listening

Now let’s examine careful listening.

Here is where the questions start…

  • How do you feel when you are listened to?
  • Then, how do you feel when you know you have been heard?
  • What has been your experience of the two questions above?
  • What are your emotional responses to the person who has listened and heard you? Relieved, satisfied, thankful, affirmed?

When I have been listened to and heard I am grateful:

  • for the empathy that has been displayed
  • the time that has been spent with me
  • for the outcomes that have been generated
  • the forward momentum that has been created

And I am grateful for the above, no matter what has been shared. I feel a shift and an appreciation, like my thoughts have been cared for by another. Careful communication.

Revisiting your communication

I would now encourage you to pause and think back…

Revisit when you were the speaker and rethink your communication moments.

  • Were you part of a careful communication moment?
  • How do you know that you were?
  • What indicators were present that signaled that you were part of a careful communication moment?
  • What did the listener do?
  • How were they?

By thinking back and wondering about careful communication we gain insight into how we may become more effective communicators.

Leadership and careful communication

And now the link to leadership.

With over 30 plus of working in leadership and learning, I am overwhelmed by the increase in leadership acumen when an individual simply becomes a better listener.

Our leadership stakes increase when we cease being the speaker and provider of our “vast and endless wisdom” (read sarcastic face) and enter into careful communication by listening effectively. This TedTalk talks to this.

I have to remind myself when I am facilitating our leadership workshops and programs, that people want to find their own solutions. And to do that I must spend time listening and providing the environment for trust to flourish and ears and minds need to be open so hearing is present.

Think about how to create an environment where listening is done within an environment of careful communication. And now consider what are the two adjustments you will make to create an environment of careful communication? How will you work on yourself to build your careful communication?

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.

Listening over Summer

Affectus has emerged out of the summer break with a bounce. We have a new addition to our growing team, you will meet her in a moment, and we have had a break. But mostly my December/January has been a time of intense listening.

  • Listening to me…
  • Listening to the people I love dearly
  • Listening to the community Affectus has built
  • And listening to the political conversations at a local through to an international level.

If our theme for this newsletter is communication then I have to say how I am constantly reminded about listening. As in listening being the fundamental-of-fundamentals of who we are and how we can be our best selves.

I have the privilege of putting my entire year of voluntary work into November. Some of you will have observed my activity assisting a woman from Wodonga who had a tilt at a state seat in the Victorian election. It was such fun and might work. And by golly she got sooooo close.

The November Volunteering actually started well over 12 months prior to the election being called and my leadership learnings from the entire 18 months will remain with me forever.

What did I learn about listening.

  • It helps to not talk if you want to listen.
  • Sometimes you have to stop the other person from talking so you can capture what you have heard.
  • It is really hard to listen when you are juggling too many concepts in your head
  • If you have an active “parrot” that sits on your shoulder and squawks opinions when others are talking then the parrot needs to be caged and shut away all the time.

So as Affectus’ year revs up these are the ideas I will commit to (again).

  • Be quiet, listen, keep listening
  • Shoot the parrot on your shoulder, keep listening
  • Capture the key points and let the other person know you have heard them
  • Listen again and then reflect on how your listening went.

I believe I am a good listener. But, during the election campaign, the effort of listening, capturing and moving other’s thoughts into outputs and action under pressure was an amazing experience. I have a completely renewed appreciation of what we put you through during our programs.

Looking forward to seeing you all during 2019.

Jill

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