The Power of Self – Awareness in Communication
So why this topic? Well . . . because for me it has been one of my key learnings over the last few years. It was the self-awareness of being able to recognise my sensitivities and how they impact interactions and communication. This recognition did not come as an easy learning and that is why sharing my takeaways here is important. Here are 5 points of self-awareness to consider when interacting with colleagues or clients:
- Know Your Emotions or More to the Point . . . Your Triggers
Sometimes these might be hard to find. The easiest way is to consider what made you feel upset when a particular event happened. By event I mean, a communication moment where you got angry, emotional or simply shut down. Take a moment immediately after the event to analyse what happened and why. Consider words used, tone, values and past experiences. Be aware of these triggers so that you may recognise them and manage them if they pop up in a future interaction. If they do pop up then be vulnerable and acknowledge them. This will help clear the air and create a space of awareness and trust.
- Where Are You in Terms of Engagement
Are you fully in the moment of the conversation with your colleagues or is your mind distracted and thinking about other things? If you are distracted this may impact your ability to listen in a more logical and analytical way to what colleagues are trying to communicate and you may misinterpret their words / messages. Before a meeting, take a moment to review key information that will allow you to prepare your mindset and to focus to the topic at hand. Create a space of Mindfulness.
- Turning Off Your Inside Voice
Here I mean the internal noise created from Points 1 & 2. This noise is the misinterpreting of messages, the over analysis of what people say and the assumption that someone means ‘X’ when in reality they mean ‘Y’. Turning off this Inside Voice can be really hard. One of the keys is to focus on the facts, being analytical and removing the emotional words from the communication event. This means summarising regularly the discussion and clarifying the key points. By doing this you are showing you are actively listening to your colleague and this act of respect creates a trusting and open communication environment.
- The Power of Positive Language
Speaking positively to someone and listening actively to what they are saying encourages people to want to communicate more and to feel safe in the environment to communicate more deeply their thoughts. Positiveness is a great medicine and it helps individuals and teams to believe in themselves and to chase their goals. It also helps you too . . . it helps focus your mind to a can-do approach and build a belief in you that you can achieve.
- The Power of Diversity
It is really important to have differing views within your team. This prevents some of the critical errors that cause teams to make mistakes. So how can you embrace diversity? This requires all of the points above to be active and for a safe environment to exist where colleagues can share their thoughts. A safe environment means speaking openly and sharing your feelings, particularly if you feel encroached upon. It means listening analytically and logically not emotionally. As an emotional person this part is challenging for me. I find though, that when I came to a situation in a mindful mode I am better able to embrace all that comes. Remember one of the critical points about diversity is that it will trigger challenges. If it does not then there is a major issue at hand and open discussions are not happening.
Invest in your Self-Awareness of who you are and help others to understand you as well by sharing your needs with them. Have fun on the journey and embrace all that comes positively and forward focused.