Communication is a tricky thing. We can learn about communication so many ways, but the best way is by practicing. And boy do we practice. Think about it, we are putting effort into communicating every day, how often do you talk, write on Facebook, Tweet, or even make a look at someone? So we are doing “communication” all the time. Now ask yourself, what are you doing to make yourself better? We know to be better at something, we not only need to DO, but there has to be a conscious effort to get better.
I am reminded of the Albert Einstein statement “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” I created my training company around this statement because I saw in life and business that we all kept running into walls and challenges because we didn’t put in the correct directional effort to be survive those walls and challenges with less struggle. With this in mind, I have found that the area of communication, changing and making ourselves BETTER at this activity we engage in every day, is the area that we don’t actually train enough in.
There are many examples of this, but let me talk about a client I worked with recently in an episode I will call “A 3-Year-Old Can Control Your World”. I was working with a client of mine with some business strategy at one of our weekly get-togethers, but he brought up some of his frustrations that he was having at home with his beautiful daughter.
“I am sorry I was late, things just got out of hand this morning, rushing around and everything.” there was exasperation in his voice and I could hear the remorse for being late.
I prompted “so what happened?” and sat back to listen. “Oh I tried to do what you said, telling my daughter that her stuffed pink unicorn will be taken away when doesn’t listen, but then she comes back at me and says “for how long will you take him away? Will it be a day? Will it be for a few hours? Forever?”, she can be a handful!”
“OK,” I started out, gathering my thoughts, “first off, I suggested that you ask HER what you should do as a consequence, but can I make another observation first?” I had gotten his attention and he nodded and said “Yes”, I could see that he was hungry to get some insights.
“First off, who was in control of this conversation?”, “I was”…I looked at him as I cocked my head to the side in a questioning look, to suggest that he think again about his answer “Oh!!!” I could see revelation in his eyes, “She was because she was asking me questions.” “Exactly!!!” There was joy in my heart for his realizing that his three-year-old could so easily take control of a conversation.
“Confronted with that question, what could you have done differently?” (I use that phrase at least once every coaching session – it goes to what I was expressing at the beginning of this article about consciously trying to be better) “I don’t know, I have to answer her.” “Ahhhh, but you see, that is the issue. Training will save your life, it is human nature that will get you killed. It’ll take practice and seems like a long process, but it will go towards the desired result faster, even though the distance is longer. If your daughter had said those things to me, my response would have been “what do you think? How long do I need to take the Unicorn away for you to remember the lesson?” – this would have had me asking a question and creating the control needed for this conversation.”
We talked more about this, and actually “role-played” some scenarios for a bit, I know roleplaying is a hard thing to go through, but it is the training, the conditioning, the effort that goes into being consciously better. I know that we will have more conversations about this, and this does not only work with 3-year-olds, but this is a sales technique that works great when working with clients. This also is great for any kind of relationship communication, creating dialogue instead of TELLING someone something. It activates our need to be autonomous while also interdependent by truly being engaged. It’s HOW to be engaged actively that takes effort. Once you become more proficient at that, there are always ways to improve beyond that point too. So again I ask you, what are YOU doing to improve your communication? (I’ll smile if you say “I just read your blog, John.”)
As always, I wish you well and continue to encourage your #PUSH to be better to #PUSHpastlimits of where you are today to be better and to always have growth and more success in your life.
John “Z” Zeydel your #PUSHcoach 502-777-7892