March 2002

Emotions and Communication

Communication is a rather imprecise term which most of us use and misuse with great pleasure. If we narrow the term “Communication” to reflect the idea of an Interactive Communication, it can imply three key concepts: connection, information and involvement. To communicate we first need to connect, whether face-to-face or through another medium. After establishing the connection, we can start sharing the information we want to communicate; but that’s only possible if we involve others in the communication process. To communicate you need a “sender” and a “receiver”; and the more involved and engaged they both are in the process of communicating, the better the results. The challenge for the sender is to get the receiver involved in the communication and to make sure that the message was correctly received. And, the most efficient way to involve anyone in communicating with you is to actively listen.

Effective Communication Strategies

The last Effective Communication seminar, “Managing Your Emotions” addressed the importance of focus and how focusing can help us leverage our emotions to get things done. The next seminar will be on March 30th and will address Communicating Interactively while still aware of our Emotions. It will highlight how Communication is a good way to practice focusing every time we listen or speak.

More information about this will be forwarded in a separate mailing.


Communication Tip of the Month: Focused Communication

Active listening is the ability to focus completely on what the other person is saying/not saying, and to understand the meaning of what is being said.

The task of listening is to be aware of the other person’s voice coming toward us and when appropriate, being able to respond to what the voice is saying. What are we thinking and feeling while the information is coming our way? Are we aware of the extent to which there is a conversation going on in our head while we are talking to another person? These internal comments and feelings will often distract us from fully listening.We start thinking if we agree or disagree with what is being said and rehearse our reply.

How much of our attention really goes toward what is being communicated to us, how involved are we really in the communication?

To really be involved and engaged in the conversation, start with non-judgmental observation. Just listen without judging if what the other person is saying is smart or naive, interesting or boring. Listen with an open mind just for the sake of listening and give the other person your full attention. When we are interested in what the person is telling us, we are automatically focusing on the conversation and actively listening. Only after letting go of judgment and becoming fully engaged in the conversation, can we start to be aware of the quality of the communication. We can hear what is being said and not what we expect to be said, and we can make the distinction between what the voice, the words and the body language are really communicating.