In my last post, I wrote about the importance of how you treat people. A recent Medium article by Benjamin P. Hardy has some interesting advice on how to interact with others: treat everyone as if they are dealing with serious challenges.
I find this advice intriguing. In order to follow it, you turn around the norms of interaction and make big assumptions, that may not be true. The power in this, however, is that you treat every person with kindness and compassion, whether their present circumstances are challenging or not. If this is the concept that gets you there, so be it.
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Knowing how you treat people is an aspect of emotional intelligence. How you communicate with others directly impacts the nature of your interactions. For example, if you treat people with respect, you may get respect in return. If you are rushed in your communications because you have things to do, others may feel disregarded. Of course, your ways of treating others may vary according to the nature of your day and the person you are interacting with.
How do you treat others? What are the values and methods of communication you employ? Do your own emotions affect how you treat others? Does how people treat you impact your communication?
Take a moment to reflect on how you treat people. Doing so can lead to better communication and less stressful interactions with others.
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Do you know your true voice? You may not speak your true voice in every encounter; however, there are some encounters where it is essential. Your true voice comes from within. It embodies your values, reflects your integrity, sets your boundaries and protects you.
Things can get sticky when you do not know or speak your true voice. Others can take advantage of or manipulate you. You can be forced into situations that do not honor your values or boundaries. If you have yet to find your true voice, here are some questions to answer that can get you started:
• What is non-negotiable in your life – things you will not do?
• What are your three most important values?
• What lines can people not cross with you?
Your true voice is the expression of you. Know it and your path will be illuminated, leading to a centered and fulfilling life.
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Sometimes, you can find yourself in situations you may describe as “tricky”. These situations can involve delicate egos, poor performance, hidden agendas, miscommunication, polarity or other things that make dealing with them difficult. Many times, the consequences of a misstep are significant.
What do you do when you find yourself in a tricky situation? Best to center yourself, use emotional intelligence, think things out carefully, figure out a strategy and do your best to tone down the situation. Most of all, be aware that you are in a tricky circumstance and need to keep your interests front and center.
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If tomorrow you talked only half as much as you would on a normal day, what do you think your day would be like? Our society overemphasizes verbal communication.
There are many ways to give and receive information and to communicate with others. What if you took a walk in silence and observed visually? What if you looked for signs from others, communicated by their body language? What if you discerned how others were feeling by their facial expressions? What if you created something non verbal to express your feelings or ideas to another person?
Try decreasing your reliance on communicating verbally. You may be pleasantly surprised by what other types of communication you can use to inform and understand others.
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1. What “button” of yours has the situation pushed? What is the source of your defensive feeling?
2. Is it a good idea to remove yourself from the situation for a time to center and assess before you respond?
3. If another person is involved, what does your emotional intelligence tell you is the most effective way to respond to them?
4. Is the situation even worth responding to or is it more effective to walk away?
5. What is the source of your defensiveness? What are you protecting yourself from?
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There are many ways people communicate that go beyond basic verbal communication. To be in tune with others, it is crucial to “notice” these other means of communicating. What are they? People communicate in many ways – with facial gestures, body language, tone of voice, choice of words, eye contact or lack of it, posture, touch and allowing or not allowing personal space. How often do you pay attention to another person’s non-verbal communication?
Over the next week, take some time to sharpen your ability to notice both your and others’ non-verbal communication. Try to discern what is being said beyond surface verbal communications. Noticing helps you increase your understanding of yourself and the people you interact with, resulting in better decisions, more effective communication and better managing.
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Sometimes in a rush or the heat of a moment, we can forget that we have choice in how we communicate with others. A big lesson for me has been discerning the difference between response and reaction in my communications. Reaction is defined as an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event. Response is a reply or an answer. The difference between the two may be subtle, but can make a huge difference.
The way I’ve come to see this is, when something provokes a reaction in me, it is best that I settle and center before I communicate. A reaction is not under my control when it is an unconsidered or emotional one. Reaction is provoked by an action or feeling. A response, in contrast, is of my own making.
Here’s an example: if someone is upset with me, a natural reaction may be to lash back defensively. However, this could escalate the conversation in ways I do not want, especially in a work situation. My reaction is caused by their heightened emotions, not what I want to do. In contrast, a response is considered and dictated by me. The next time an opportunity presents itself, try responding instead of reacting. I think you’ll see its merits.
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Do you find yourself looking down a lot – at your phone? There have been many changes in our business communication styles. How are you adjusting to them? Do they serve or hinder you as a manager?
You do have choice in how and when you communicate – exercise it. Communications styles do not have to be dictated to you. Choose the style of communication that allows you to be fully present in the moment and to communicate effectively. You may not be able to use your chosen style of communication, every time. However, you may be surprised how often you can, when you exercise your choice.
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1. When you do not have the facts of a situation
2. When your emotions are running high
3. When you have nothing to say
4. When a situation is volatile and you haven’t thought through the risks of speaking up
5. When you are tired and there’s no request that you speak up
6. When the person you would speak to is highly emotional and you see a way to avoid or delay speaking with them until things calm down
7. When someone is making a fool of themselves
8. When you have nothing good to say
9. When what you’d like to say will needlessly cause harm
10. When the person won’t hear you, even if you do speak up
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