Befriend your intention

Befriend your intention in communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think about the last conflict you had and the interaction(s) you had to resolve it. What did you want to achieve? No, what did you realllly want to achieve?

None of us are strangers to at one time or another saying we want to resolve a conflict, but entering into peace talks with the real aim of proving we’re right or showing the other person we know more. How do those conversations usually turn out?

All communication begins with intention. You’re either conscious of your intentions or you’re not. Our true intentions – not always the ones we say we have – will play out in the words we use and how our body and voice express themselves in all our communication experiences.

Why is intention so important?

Going into communication with one stated intention and having our words and body and voice demonstrate another quickly leads to loss of credibility and trust. And quite possibly even a loss of clients, a promotion, relationships, sales, and so on. We feel disappointed in ourselves for our lack of desired results, and we may not understand why, because we’re unaware of the crucial role intention is playing in the background.

Here’s another example. Say someone reaches out to you to have a one-on-one networking or informational meeting under the premise of getting to know each other and making a connection. You attend the meeting and after half-an-hour or so you find yourself viewing a catalogue of products and listening to promotions and you realize, “Wait a minute – am I being sold to?” Yes, you are, and you further realize this wasn’t an informational or networking meeting all along. At one point or another (or maybe more often than we’d like) we find ourselves on either side of this equation. It doesn’t feel so good, does it?

Honesty is the best policy

There’s nothing wrong with the intentions of selling or even proving you know more – as long as you’re honest with yourself and the other person or people about them and you recognize how your true intention is going to play out in an interaction through your words and body language and voice.

Owning our intention in communication requires us to look at ourselves on a deeper level and asking questions about who we are, what we want and how we want to achieve it. When we do this and own our intention, as well as share that intention with the person or people we’re communicating with, we’ll come across authentically, build trust and relationships, and likely have win-win outcomes.

Get to know your intentions

Think back to your last challenging conversation and see if you can pinpoint your true intention and whether it aligned with or differed from the intention you said you had before having that conversation. What were the outcomes of the conversation? How did the person or other people engage? How might those things be different if your intention were different? Do the same thing for a presentation or a meeting you recently had. Take notes and see if you can identify themes or patterns. If you notice a real, consistent disconnect between your stated and true intentions, you may want to explore why further, so you can begin to get the results you want from your communication.

This week’s challenge

Take a moment before the major communication events you have scheduled over the next week to acknowledge your true intention with respect to your stated intention. Notice if there is alignment and pay attention to how the intention plays out in your words and body language and voice in each of those communication events. If there is misalignment, take some time to realign before the event and experience the difference in your results.

In our next post, we’re going to explore what’s important to you and the value in knowing how it defines your unique communication blueprint.

It’s written all over your face

emotions and communication

 

Emotions can be a roller coaster of a topic. Wouldn’t you say?

We tend to like to stick to such feelings as joy, love, exhilaration and accomplishment. And then we stop at sadness, fear, betrayal and rage. However, we’re human, and whether we’re in a personal or professional setting, we can’t turn off what we feel. We can try, but we can never really turn them off. Our emotions show up in our communication either authentically or inauthentically. And, only one of those scenarios builds trust.

Are you inviting people in or pushing them away?

At any given moment, we’re either drawing people in, repelling them or creating indifference to ourselves. How our emotions come through in our verbal and non-verbal communication is key to this.

For example, if you’re an entrepreneur that’s having a day where you feel unsure of yourself, you may use a quieter voice with a prospect than you would on a day you feel more confident. You may also stand with your arms crossed to protect yourself rather than have them open to invite the person in. You may use language that’s less enthusiastic than you would on a day you’re feeling spectacular. Based on this, how effective do you think you’d be in drawing the prospect in?

Only until recently have acknowledging and talking about emotions become more acceptable and encouraged, and we still have a long way to go. In fact, many of us are out of touch with what our emotions even feel like in our bodies. And here’s the thing, whether you’re conscious of them or not, your emotions are influencing how you’re showing up in your interactions with and in front of people, and ultimately your results. Wouldn’t you like to understand them better, so you can show up the way you want?

Turning up the awareness

Now that you know your emotions could be pushing people away, you can make shifts that can empower you to choose how you show up, which again, will influence your results. The key to doing so is AWARENESS. You may want to use these questions to raise your level of awareness about how your emotions are coming through in your communication:

  • What happens to your voice when you feel certain emotions (e.g., louder, slow down, etc.)?
  • How does you body react to certain emotions (e.g., shrink, open, etc.)?
  • How does your language change from one emotion to the next (e.g., more forceful, less inspiring)?
  • Can you feel your emotions in your body? How specifically?

Imagine how this new level of awareness can defuse a conflict by informing you about how anger in your verbal and non-verbal communication might incite a bigger quarrel or deepen a rift. Imagine how many more clients you can connect with when you know the difference between how you show up when you feel confident versus uncertain. Imagine how your relationships could deepen when you recognize how your words, voice and body demonstrate the emotions of affection, appreciation and love.

It’s pretty profound stuff.

This week’s challenge

Over the next week, my challenge to you is to get more in touch with your emotions before you go into important interactions. Check in with yourself on how you’re feeling and notice. Notice what your body is doing. Notice how your voice is sounding. Notice what words are coming out of your mouth as a result of whatever that emotion is that you’re feeling. I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer.

Next on our list of inputs in A Model for Conscious Communication is the piece that underpins how successful you’re going to be in your communication. It’s going to be very intentional, so tune in!

Communication: What’s it all about?

Pop quiz. Did you know there are two outputs to communication?

If you guessed there’s a verbal output (the words we use) and a non-verbal output (what we do with our voice and body) ding, ding, ding, you’ve won yourself the opportunity to read the rest of this post! Ha.

All jokes aside, there are serious considerations to communication you’re overlooking that may be responsible for lacklustre results.

Percentages, percentages

If we were to put numbers to words, there are various studies that aim to quantify just how much of communication is attributed to the verbal versus the non-verbal. At its highest value, the non-verbal output of communication has been cited at 93% of communication. Some studies divide this number further to 55% body language and 38% voice. In either case, this leaves just seven percent for the verbal output of communication.

A word of caution – there are debates over the actual percentages of verbal versus non-verbal communication and whether we can even attribute numbers to them, since context is a huge part of any communication setting. What we want to recognize as our key takeaway is that non-verbal communication accounts for far more of communication than we give it credit for. And I’m going to guess, if you’re like most people, you spend most of your time preparing the verbal.

You don’t know what you don’t know

At this point in the history of humankind, our access to words is at the best it could ever be. Thank you smartphones and dictionary.com! When we’re not getting our point across or connecting with people the way we’d like, it’s not as simple to just say it’s because we used the wrong words. It’s what we’re not consciously accessing that’s causing us to miss our mark. Because it’s not conscious, we’re not even sure of what we’re supposed to be accessing to become the type of confident, articulate communicator we want to be.

Enter A Model for Conscious Communication. There’s a whole system of background inputs – operating unconsciously – that’s feeding our verbal and non-verbal communication. There are five inputs to this system and each one helps to make up our own unique communication blueprint.

Yes, you have a unique communication blueprint

There are reasons why replicating “guaranteed success” communication formulas from experts often ends in frustration and failure. It’s not because you’re not doing it right. What works for them isn’t necessarily going to work for you, because your blueprint is different from theirs. As we explore each input to A Model for Conscious Communication, you’ll see how uniquely you interact with the input and why you’re getting the results you are, and most importantly, how you can shift your results in your favour.

In my next post, we’ll cover the first input feeding communication. I guarantee you, it’s going to give you all the feels… By the way, that was a hint. 😉