by Marty Stanley, Dynamic Dialog Inc.
Are you tired of not getting what you want? Prepare for a little Feng Shui for your mind.
Creating Harmony, Flow
This ancient Chinese practice is about placement and design to create harmony and balance. Proponents say good Feng Shui and Chi, or flow, have a positive effect on health, prosperity, reaching goals and good relationships.
- Craft your words carefully. Careful word use and placement can achieve balance, flow and harmony. Sometimes we spend more time crafting our words to order coffee than we do to communicate goals, expectations, preferences or disappointments. I used to order “a double mocha frappacino with a shot of espresso, skinny, grande in a venti cup with a shake of nutmeg and vanilla bean.” Now I just order a small coffee. It’s a lot easier, and I get what I want: a cup of coffee.
- What are you really saying? Are you clear about what you want before you talk? What do you want from this interaction? Write it down. Is that what you want? If you got that, would that make you happy or deliver the results you want? If not, write until you’ve found the clarity and simplicity of your thoughts.
- Express yourself. Once you have Feng Shui’d your thoughts and words to be sure they are aligned and in harmony with what you want, take action.
- Cut the drama. When there is drama, clear communication will be compromised. In these situations, it is even more critical to be objective about the result you want. Look at all sides, possibilities and parties involved. Again, like Feng Shui, it’s about creating harmony and balance. Drama creates barriers to accomplishing what you want.
Three Approaches to Clear Communication
1. Make a request. When you receive an invitation, you can accept or decline it. A request can provide an opportunity for a counteroffer. When you start a sentence, “I have a request,” it forces you to clarify what you want. It also alerts the listener to pay attention without the fear, manipulation or apprehension that can occur when someone barks, “I need this now!” or candy coats, “Can you do me a favor?” Instead of blurting, “You’re late again!” or being passive-aggressive by sighing, rolling your eyes and looking at your watch as the offender strolls past your office 30 minutes late, try this:
- Think through what you want and how you want to come across. Align your thoughts, words and actions to that image, and make your request.
- “Bill, I have a request. When I hired you, you said you could work 8 to 4. The past couple of weeks, you’re not here until 8:15, sometimes later. I request that you honor your commitment to work from 8 to 4.”
- The manager is holding Bill accountable for keeping his commitment. There is no drama, blame or opportunity for excuses. It provides an opening for Bill to make another request or counteroffer, however, such as, “I’m taking the kids to school now. Would it be possible to start at 9 and leave at 5?”
- When making a request, be prepared for its being declined or to engage in a counteroffer. If you’re not willing to accept a “no” or counteroffer, then don’t make a request.
2. State your expectations. Sometimes we think we’ve communicated expectations, but we’ve only been rehearsing the dialogue in our heads. Instead of saying, “Why can’t you get this right consistently?” try, “Karen, we’ve reviewed this customer’s specifications for this job. I expect you to consistently do the work according to these requirements. If this happens again, there will be a written warning.” Make sure your expectations are reasonable and actually part of the job. Refer to documentation to support the expectation, such as a job description, product specifications or legal requirements. People also must know what happens if they don’t meet expectations.
3. Keep promises. If you say you’ll do something, do it. Acknowledge it as soon as you know you can’t keep a promise. One of the best ways to have others keep their promises to you is to model this behavior. Hold people accountable for not following through their commitments. For example, “Jim, you said you’d have the analysis completed by today. I was counting on including that information for my presentation next week. What happened, and when will it be completed?”
Follow the formula for Feng Shui for the mind and clear communication, and you will reap the benefits of clarity of thinking, aligning your words to your thoughts, and taking action that is consistent with your thoughts and words. These are the keys to uncluttered communication.
Marty Stanley is president of Dynamic Dialog Inc. and an author, national speaker and facilitator who helps organizations create their new normal. For more information, visit http://alteringoutcomes.com. Reach Stanley at 816-822-4047 or email@example.com.
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