If you were to ask some of the most prolific communicators in the world about communicating effectively, there would be many answers, angles, and possibilities, along with the standard speaking – listening – feedback loop we all know.
Yet, the differences in how they define effectiveness in communication can be categorized into five specific concepts which every conversation goes through, albeit sometimes the five concepts are addressed in a moment and sometimes over a lifetime.
The five concepts are:
Any conversation (and I backed up to my last few ones to see if this were true, and it was) we have contain these five elements. How much time we spend on each of them varies depending on who we are talking to, what we are talking about, how long we’ve known them, and where our trust level is with the person. Let’s break them down.
Consideration is a simple mind thought question of ‘do I want to engage this.’ This concept defines our mindset we have headed into the conversation. I am considering the pros and cons of engaging. Questions like ‘will this take too much time’ or ‘how do I get out if the conversation turns’ are big considerations.
We all have people we engage with that we know we must block off time in our schedule to talk to them. Similarly, there are people who when we engage with can be 2-3 hours of pure enjoyment.
Consideration is about time.
The next element is that of culture. For this conversation to start we must be aware of time and place. This is as much about tact as it is timing. Right person – place – time and we have the foundation for effective communication to take place, but wrong person – place – time and we have a recipe for disaster.
Culture is being aware of your current surroundings. Face to face conversations verses over the phone ones, or in today’s culture; social media carries with it varying tones. Speaking one-to-one or in a group setting creates different tones as well.
Culture is about awareness.
Not all conflict is bad, however bad conflict prohibits effective communication. Knowing that a conversation will include conflict, we must be ready for it. Most people who ‘avoid’ conflict don’t hate conflict; they hate the surprise of conflict.
If there is history of negative conflict between you and another person, then going into a conversation with some preparation for it will increase the odds for effectively communicating.
Now, if you struggle with the conflict that sneaks up on you, try some meditative practices before engaging (when you need to) or as you feel yourself getting heated, learn to stop the conversation or break for a moment to gain your composure.
Conflict is about preparedness.
Here, the concept of contemplation is just that; a right here, right now justification, of saying yes or no to talking. It is taking the above three elements and quickly deciphering them through your conscious to make an informed decision. Fight or flight. Prepared or not. Present or absent.
The more conversations and experiences you have in life the better you ill become at contemplating. Often, we don’t struggle with deciding whether to have the conversation but more about who we are having the conversation with.
Contemplation is about deciding.
We want to collaborate with those we are in alignment with. The more likeminded conversations we have, the stronger our foundations become that strong foundation allows us to collaborate with people inside of conversations that are less likeminded than us, without feeling like it is with the ‘wrong’ person.
When ‘the stars align’ communication not only becomes effective, but it also becomes fun. Collaborating with others fills a void we all have of belonging. The more aligned we are with the other person, the more effective our communication will be.
Even in times of differing opinions, if there is a respect factor present, two people can have amazing conversations and maintain homeostasis in their relationships.
Collaboration is about alignment.
Effective communication is imperative for the livelihood of any relationship, whether in life or business. Knowing and living inside of your values and beliefs will be the foundation that allows you to build relationships, and thus better your communication.
Now, ask yourself which one of these concepts are you most comfortable with and which one do you struggle with most?
Let me know in the comments and let’s start effectively communicating.