Get inspired with a new way of integrated living!

Get inspired with a new way of integrated living!

With fast changes and new ways of living and working, it’s time to shift our focus from the problems this new world brings, to the possibilities it offers…
 
There is one thing that working virtually, working from home, working in a hybrid setting or working from the office or even the beach have in common… That one thing is you. There is a big ‘I’ at the centre of the word ‘Hybrid’ and we want to invite you to put yourself… ‘I’ – right at the centre of this more fluid, changing and exciting world.

  

‘I’ is for integration. Rather than stressing to find the perfect life/work ‘balance’,  we can actually start weaving and smoothing together life and work by thinking more about integration. Let’s put ‘I’ right at the centre of this new way of living and working. You can start happening to the world, rather than letting this new world simply happen to you. Life is about living, loving and leading all in one big integrated, expansive experience.

Here are some tips on how we can integrate our life and work even more, so that we are weaving and crossing over skill sets from different parts of our lives. Making virtual working, hybrid communication and personal life in the 21st-century full of even more excitement, creativity, and choice – allowing us to live our full potential and dreams.

Remember…it all begins with the letter ‘I’.

 

1. Impact

We talk a lot about the impact that we make at work and how we communicate with colleagues but have you ever thought about the impact you make on your nearest and dearest? The truth is we can often bring our worst selves to the people who love us the most. To live an even fuller and more expansive experience of life, become more conscious of the impact you make on your loved ones – when you walk into a room, when you come back from work, when you’re tired or not in a great mood. Consciously create your impact at home as well as at work and you will create a whole new world of possibility, fun, kindness, and love.

 

2. Intention

As life continues to move at an increasingly rapid pace, it’s time to get intentional about how you want to shape your life and what level of pressure you’re prepared to work under. Get intentional and make clear choices!

Setting meaningful intentions might mean creating some new boundaries, putting your personal well-being and relationships right at the top of your priority list, knowing when to say no and being intentional about your life and your leadership.

 

3. Influencing

This is a great area for crossover skills. You may not think you’re a great influencer at work but when you look at your personal life you are influencing all the time. That could be influencing parents and siblings, friends and children. If you can motivate friends & family, then you can influence and motivate at work. Equally if you know you have great influencing skills at work but feel powerless at home – start bringing some of your skills to your personal life and shake things up a bit!

 

4. Infrastructure

Quite simply get the best tech you can to make your life as smooth as possible in this new hybrid world. Think about the equipment that you use…after all you don’t always have to be sat at your desk – what meetings or emails could you write dictating into your phone on a walk? How else can you use your environment and tech to maximise your creativity time and life experience?

This is the opportunity to replace the eight-hour desk shift with a much more exciting and varied schedule by being creative around your tech and infrastructure. After all, hybrid could mean having meetings at the top of a mountain or cross legged in a sunny field. (I’m writing, or dictating, this on a bench under a tree whilst my dog splashes in the stream just opposite!).

 

5. Inclusion

This new world of home, office and hybrid working offers us a wonderful opportunity to include more people than ever before. Inclusion doesn’t have to be a buzzword, it can be you inviting someone to that meeting right now who doesn’t normally come or dialling them in from home. It could be having a coffee with a couple of colleagues who are in the office while you’re sitting in your kitchen. It could equally be checking on that person down your street, in your community or circle of friends who might just need to be included a little more often. Even if they can’t get out of the house, that person can now be included like never before.

How we can help

4D Human Being designs and runs engaging interactive seminars, workshops, trainings and keynote on mastering the art of communicating in a hybrid world. We can help you learn the tools to navigate both worlds – to bring people together, to use creative tech to break down location boundaries, to maximize your personal impact, to engage both online attendees and those in the room.

Furthermore, once experiencing the 4D communication program, you will be able to understand how to adapt presentations, meetings, material and questions to make sure everyone feels engaged and contributing. All of these elements are vital to a strong and resilient communication – the foundation of a successful business. Find out more specifics on how to make an impact during Hybrid Working here.

 

Before you go…

Make sure to check out our most recent podcasts on integrating life and work – episodes include – WellBeing with Jessie Pavelka, Fluid Living and Going Hybrid! Listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, just search ‘The 4D Human Being Podcast‘.
Hybrid Working in 2021

Hybrid Working in 2021

We are all talking Hybrid Working!

It’s coming and for some it has already arrived. When people talk about hybrid working, they are usually talking about the split between working from home and from the office or a mix of people WFH and WFO (Working From the Office).

We know this hybrid working is happening (the WHAT) and we know WHY this is happening. This shift has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. What we really need to be talking about is the ‘HOW’ !? How we make an impact in a hybrid world, how we hold meetings and give presentations. Engaging teams and being able to inspire customers whilst maximising attendees participation are key elements to a  successful delivery & impactful communication, which can be translated into successful business. 

Research suggest that “The main challenge will be ensuring collaboration remains equitable, with half of meeting attendees in the room and half dialling in over video, and that methods of communication remain consistent.” That is what we are good at, at 4D. This challenge of hybrid will only be a challenge if companies don’t help their leaders and people become experts at facilitating and communicating in a hybrid world.

Leaders now need the skills to unify, connect and engage people across both mediums simultaneously – in other words, they need to be highly creative hybrid leaders. As experts in communication, 4D can help you and your people discover the tools and methods to bridge these worlds and to unite an online and live workforce into a shared, productive and powerful experience.

How we can help

4D Human Being designs and runs engaging interactive seminars, workshops, trainings and keynote on mastering the art of communicating in a hybrid world. We can help you learn the tools to navigate both worlds – to bring people together, to use creative tech to break down location boundaries, to maximize your personal impact, to engage both online attendees and those in the room.

Furthermore, once experiencing the 4D communication program, you will be able to understand how to adapt presentations, meetings, material and questions to make sure everyone feels engaged and contributing. All of these elements are vital to a strong and resilient communication – the foundation of a successful business. Find out more specifics on how to make an impact during Hybrid Working here.

To make sure you and your leaders have the skills to navigate a hybrid world and to ensure your workforce have a very ‘Happy Hybrid’, do get in touch with us at 4D penelope@4dhumanbeing.com.

Email us at philippa@4dhumanbeing.com to find out more or get in touch below!

 

3 + 2 =

Living and Leading with Impact

Living and Leading with Impact

Living and Leading with Impact

 

It’s all very well spending hours, months and thousands of pounds trying to understand your values, your purpose and your mission. Far too often, that never gets translated into behaviour. Ultimately, it is the impact you, your colleagues and your employees have on each other and your clients that will dictate your culture, narrative and success. As we return to the new normal, right now is the perfect time to think about the ‘new you’ at work – new ways of communicating, new choices and making a new impact.

We talk a lot about impact but what actually is impact

You can think of impact as having 6 elements:

1. It’s how you show up
2. How you communicate
3. How you respond
4. How you feel
5. How other people feel about you
6. How people then talk about you – today, tomorrow, into the future and when you’re not in in the room

That is your Impact.

Impact and communication is not just the icing on top of the cake – it’s who we are and our life experience. We are not who we are without all our qualities and relationships, successes and failures and then we add on the communication in the impact. It’s the complete reverse. As physicist Carlo Rovelli says: “we are the sum of our interactions.” In other words – how you communicate, how you impact other people and how you show up in relationships will completely determine your experience of yourself, your career and life.

Every single moment of every interaction, your impact is dictating who you are and how you will live your life. The idea that ‘leadership impact’ is somehow an ‘add-on’ is quite frankly crazy. Your impact as a leader is who you are, as a leader. It will inform whether people follow you, whether you can make things happen, whether you can create change or bring a strategy to life. All of this will come down to your interactions and your impact.

Top tips on creating an intentional impact:

1. Energy

Energy is everything. The energy you emit will determine how much of an impact you make. Are you making an energetic impact on others?

 

2. Intention

Are you thinking beyond tasks and meetings to how you actually want the people around you to FEEL?

 

3. Language

What words are you using about yourself and your work? Because that’s how people will then talk about you.

 

4. When things go wrong

As a leader your Impact in times of crisis, change or conflict will determine who you are and how people experience you almost more than any other time.

 

5. Be the author of you

Imagine for one day, that every single moment of that day, you are writing the brand or story of you. Not just with the words you use but with the way you physically show up, your posture, your attitude towards people, the eye contact you make or whether you smile or not… every single moment is building the story of you.

We may all aspire to live our deepest values and to believe we are aligned every moment of every day to our higher purpose but the truth is that actions speak louder than words. It’s not until we make conscious choices around our behaviours and attitudes that we can truly make the leadership impact we want to make.

How we can help

At 4D we are passionate about helping you expand you range to make the Impact you want to make and enabling organisations to build a culture of integrity, inclusion and inspiration. Now is the time to take on some new Impact tools for the ‘new you‘ in the new normal.

We are delighted to announce for the very first time, our successful 4D courses are available as open programmes and we are super excited to bring the 4D Human Being Experience to an even wider audience. The first open course program will be starting June 14th with our highly requested – “4D Essential Leadership Communication.” 

Email us at philippa@4dhumanbeing.com to find out more or get in touch below!

 

1 + 3 =

Back to work…

Back to work…

More and more people are talking about the reality of going back to work. What does that mean? What will it look like? While on one hand we can celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel and the chance to return to what we are calling the new normal, on the other hand lots of us are experiencing anxiety at this next phase.

Issues that are coming up include how will we agree social distancing? What is okay in terms of boundaries? Will I be expected to go straight back to networking? What stories, narratives, tragedies and difficult emotions will I and others be bringing back to our workplace?

Many of us face these anxieties or at least the thought of them coming soon. While the uncertainty continues, this moment is also a wonderful opportunity to press reset and to make some conscious choices.

Going back to the workplace after such a long time gives us all the chance to make some clear choices around our behaviours and intentions. We have a chance to make a conscious and a positive new ‘first impression’ and set the tone for how we want to be and be seen from now on. So as well as acknowledging the challenges ahead, we can also grab this moment and get excited by the new page we are turning; start writing ourselves a new chapter. Here are some thoughts and tips on how you can take care of your own well-being and re-launch into this new phase with energy, self care and positivity.

 

1. Engage the platinum rule…

We are all different and this is an important time to respect our own choices and those of others and that they will be different.

 

2. Look behind…

If people make choices that you don’t like try looking behind the choice for challenges, anxieties and reasons that may inform their decisions. We are all different and we are all complex. Look behind for the wider story to connect to others with empathy.

 

3. Re-launch your brand…

This is a wonderful time to make that new first impression. You can choose that first moment of impact and set a new tone for who you are in the workplace.

 

4. Micro moments…

We are all bringing a lot back to the workplace. You don’t have to empty your year of narrative in one go. Take it easy moment by moment and keep it simple with a ‘good to see you’ or a shared coffee break. Your Covid experiences suitcase can be unpacked slowly and you might even choose to leave some things safely tucked inside.

 

5. Big boundaries…

Use this reset opportunity to set the boundaries on your time and stress levels that perhaps you always wanted to set. You, your team, your colleagues and your workplace will be more focused than ever on well-being. Use this moment to make sure you take care of yours. 

 

How we can help

The 4D team can really help you take charge of your energy and well-being in all 4 Dimensions. Focussing in turn on your: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Relational wellbeing. Our impactful and practical 4D Energiser Program has just the right tools, insights, care and fun to help you, your team and your organisation re-activate the well-being, creativity and energy that will make 2021 the game changing turnaround year, that you can all be proud of.

Treat your team to the 4D Energiser Program, now! Only ONE hour a week, for ONE month, to ensure a super-charged and successful launch into the year ahead.

Email us at philippa@4dhumanbeing.com to find out more or get in touch below!

 

4 + 15 =

The Body Still Counts!

The Body Still Counts!

Saying it all, without saying a word… Have we forgotten part of our language skills in the online world?

 

 

“You say it best when you say nothing at all…”

 

(Boyzone, 1999).

It wasn’t easy, but I have indeed managed to start this month’s newsletter with a quote from Boyzone (bear with me readers!) Now whilst I am admittedly a fan of 90’s pop music- and even more so of the film Notting Hill where this song featured – there’s rhyme and reason for the reference. When we think about our communication, how we are going to prepare for a speech, presentation, interview or difficult conversation – we tend to focus on the words, content or the script. And yet we know that as human beings over HALF of what we ‘say’ is not what comes out of our mouths. It comes out of what we say with the rest of our bodies. And this is still true if we are practising social distancing or communicating in an online world. Even though perhaps we may have lost sight of the impact of our bodies in our new world of virtual communication. So, this month it’s time to get physical – and we don’t mean pulling on leggings and going to the gym (now that they are open!). Join us this month as we delve into the intriguing and often underestimated world of Body Language.

 

Animal Instincts

 

I speak for each and every one of you when I say you are highly developed, highly intelligent, sensitive, self-aware creatures (I would expect nothing less from our fabulous readers!). And yet… all of us- at our core- are animals.

 

 

 

 

As animals, we have some basic survival instincts -food, safety and continuation of our species. These instincts existed way before our modern language did and yet somehow, we managed to communicate with each other – and not only survive- but thrive. We had to be very good at not only at signalling our needs and fears but also reading them in others, even when no words were spoken. In our era of modern language and high-speed communication, we have sophisticated and subtle means and methods of communicating. And yet, the hardware of who we are as human beings remains unchanged.

 

 

 

In Paul MacLean’s 3 brain model, our reptilian brain was the first part of the brain to develop and is responsible for protection, safety and non-verbal communication. So, whether we like it or not (or are aware of it or not) we still use our non-verbal communication to provide a wealth of information. AND we are always being read and interpreted by others, based on the non-verbal cues we project. So, imagine the powerful impact we could make every day if we consciously communicated- not only with our words- but with all of our being. 

“It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

 

– William Bernbach (1911–1982), American advertising creative director

 

Posture

 

So, what about our posture? Well, it’s often something we only think about if we have to go to an osteopath or chiropractor due to back pain. However, an Ohio State University study (2015) showed that holding a slumped posture for 30-minutes could significantly increase stress levels, depression, and fear. On the other hand – maintaining an upright posture can result in greater confidence and lower stress levels. Bear this in mind particularly if you are now working remotely and are sitting for much of the day. Our health and mobility are important, and… let’s keep in mind that there is so much more to our posture and how it is serving us. Looking at a number of studies, evidence suggests that our posture matters more than company hierarchies in terms of making a person think and act more powerfully!

Why is this? Well going back to the caveman… a slumped posture – (head dropped and rounded shoulders) would have been a demonstration of “flight” (fear/submission) posturing and can have a very real neurological and psychological impact on our systems. So, next time you are in a meeting or virtual meeting, even if you are feeling nervous you may want to try this:

 

1. Sit forward on your chair or stand up and either way – with feet apart and firmly grounded on the floor

 

2. Shoulders back

 

3. Chin up/not too tucked in

 

You may be amazed not only by how you feel but by how you present yourself and ultimately by the words that come out of your mouth. As we say here at 4D, it all starts with the physical…

I recall going through some rather draining legal proceedings a few years back. As anyone who has experienced this will know, it can be intellectually overwhelming and emotionally draining. I recall those feelings and the sense of not having any control or power (a core human need). But one thing I could do was get a hold of was how I showed up: how I behaved and interacted physically. So, I made a conscious and deliberate decision to maintain a strong, grounded posture with shoulders back and head held high. It was incredible to notice how different I felt and also, how it changed the verbal language I used and the way other people responded to me. It was a game-changer.

“Isn’t it odd. We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside”

 

– Charlie Macksey

 

Proxemics

 

 

Proxemics explain how people treat the space between them and others. It’s a form of nonverbal communication and the distance of the proxemic can make situations either intimidating or acceptable. And what we find acceptable, varies from person-to-person, when it comes to our personal space.

As animals, we have a sense of what physical proxemic feels acceptable and what feels threatening. As you can imagine, smaller animals than us have an even greater sense of this hidden dimension – anyone who has a guinea pig or rabbit will know that it can be hard to catch a sight of them. Yesterday, I was at my sister’s house and I was determined to catch a glimpse of her new guinea pig – Manuel. So, I crept into the room his cage was in. He remained static until I came within 1 metre. and then – boom, he bolted. It was almost like I had tripped a tripwire that caused him to scurry at breakneck speed into his little guinea pig house! Animals’ bodies respond to their intuition and signal their levels of discomfort. I had entered his ‘intimate’ proxemic and all of his body told him to run. Sorry, Manuel!

As human beings we are no different and understanding how to use your space and reading others’ space is crucial for creating the right connections and leaving a good impression. Many of us feel this only too acutely at the moment with the emotional distance that can be created by the extended proxemic of social distancing. It has an impact! And whilst we need to be mindful of keeping our distance to keep our communicates safe, we would do well to recognise there is an impact on how we may make each other feel as well as look to compensate for the distance through other body language strategies.

 

The 4 Levels of Gesture

 

 

Research has demonstrated that in everyday interpersonal communication people spontaneously generate images via hand gestures to accompany their speech. In this way, they help to encode the speech into the listener’s memory by utilising two cognitive aspects: words and images.

 

The physical act of moving our arms and hands generates energy within our bodies. The higher the level of gestures we make the higher the level of energy we release. But there is also another hidden effect of gestures involving the brain. Psychologists Rizzolatti and Arbib (Language Within Our Grasp 1998) discovered that when we perform an activity, such as gesturing, we activate motor neurons in the brain. Curiously, similar neurons are also activated when we merely watch an activity. These are called mirror neurons.

When we watch someone moving, mirror neurons fire off in our brains and we not only witness a gesture but also experience and feel the gesture in our minds. Watching gestures- or any movement- literally creates an energetic reaction in the brain. This is why watching people dance or sing can be a contagious and emotional experience- and we may feel compelled to express ourselves too! This suggests that gesture can expand the effectiveness of our communication, by improving cognition, opening up different levels of meaning for the listener and also, by boosting energy levels (for both the speaker and the listener).

So how can you utilise the power of gestures: By using specific gestures to accompany your speech you can:

 

 

1. Appear more confident

 

2. Feel more confident

 

3. Enhance your communications

 

4. Raise not only your energy but also the energy levels of those who watch or interact with you

 

Increase the vocabulary available to you in the moment (research shows that restricting hand gestures makes it more difficult to find the right words.)
I often hear comments from people I work with that working remotely limits our ability to use our gestures and whilst there is some truth to that, we are still #always at choice. Push your computer screen back so that you give yourself a wide frame on screen from the chest up (or better still stand up) and get those arms on camera!

 

Eye contact

 

 

Eye contact may seem an obvious element of our physical language, but we can all too often be unaware of where our eyes may be focused and how we may be impacting others. Eye contact can demonstrate in an instance – respect, appreciation, interest, understanding confidence, engagement, making people feel connected and important. AND it can suggest fear, nervousness, disinterest to name just a few. Now that isn’t to say that removing eye contact is not sometimes useful. If you want someone to stop talking or if you have a consistent tricky ‘challenger’ in your audience – gently removing your eye contact after a few seconds is often a great way to change the dynamic.

 

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”

 

– Peter Drucker

 

Create your New Norm

 

We are responding cognitively all the time to the signals and signs our bodies give us. At the same time, we are also reading other peoples’ body language – perhaps even more than the words that come out of their mouths. And other people are doing the same to us. Over our lives, we have built up patterns of body language. But we can choose to change those behaviours that aren’t serving us anymore. Of course, when it comes to breaking patterns and creating new ones, practice makes perfect.

 

 

So – whether you have been consistently working in a face-to-face environment or are soon returning to an office or communal place of work – at 4D we want to encourage you to think about your body language. Trying our new or unfamiliar ideas (such as taking a stronger posture, smiling more than usual or using higher arm gestures) may feel strange at first, but over time, this new pattern of body language will become your new normal. A part of who you are and how you communicate. And… 

 

…don’t imagine that if you are primarily interacting and communicating in a virtual environment that the ‘language’ you are speaking with your body doesn’t matter. On the contrary – it matters even more! Three top reasons to focus on your body language even when in virtual meetings are:

 

 

1. Because your mind-body loop will be affected by the physical position and gestures that you choose to do. Remember your body is constantly sending messages to your brain! So your impact even on the phone is affected by how you sit, stand and physically behave.

 

2. Quite simply, connectivity and communication ARE harder when we’re not face-to-face. So why not use ALL the tools at your disposal to really land your message, build great bonds, influence and communicate with impact.

 

3. If on a video call no one else has their camera switched on – stand out from the crowd. What a gift to leave an even stronger impression! TURN YOUR CAMERA ON!

 

 

 

 

What is your body language saying about you?

 

 

 

You can find out more and sign up for our newsletter through our website as well as check out the 4D articles, podcasts, videos and online training programmes. If you’d like us at 4DHB to help you engage your audience, get your messages across online and have some fun…do get in touch.

 

4D Human Being – helping leaders, teams and individuals consciously communicate with impact every day.

 

Relationships? Or “Communication-ships”

Relationships? Or “Communication-ships”

Communication is EVERYTHING!

 

Of course at 4D Human Being we pretty much believe this to be true and whilst (strictly speaking) there are other things in the world aside from communication (), we truly believe that communication is core to who we are and the experience of life that we are creating for ourselves and one another. So no small thing!

And yet, why is it that so often we don’t communicate, or feel that others fail to communicate with us? This can be because literally no communication occurs. And it can also refer to communication simply not landing in the way we/others intend – and so what takes place is ‘miscommunication’. We could write a book (actually a library) on why communication is important and the skills and tools we can use to be better communicators. But this August Newsletter will not be a book. Instead, we want to offer one focus to help us step in and communicate and to be better communicators. And that is…

…that communication is relational. So join us as we release the focus from ourselves as ‘individual communicators’. And we shift the arc of focus to the relationship – to the audience (or our partner!) to create a different experience of what communication really is.

 

 

Why is Communication Important

 

Any list of ‘top required soft skills in the workplace’ will certainly have communication skills at the top or very near the top. These skills are critical to our success and the success of our organisations – never more so than at the moment – whether collaborating across organisations during the pandemic to save lives or as is the case for many of us working hard to sustain business performance across teams and customer bases when working under challenging economic conditions and doing so virtually. And aside from the professional benefits of strong communication, let’s not forget that research suggests that in our personal relationships, it is effective communication that we struggle with the most and is the #1 reason for relationships breaking down (John Gottman Institute).

We can tell ourselves that the reason to be a great communicator is to effectively transfer information from one human being to another. And whilst this is true – and has been critical to the survival and development of our species, communication serves so much more. Communication enables us to create, build and nurture relationships with other people and to create shared meaning in our lives. And when that becomes the focus of why and how we communicate, well… we are entering a whole new ball game.

 

Why it Fails

 

There are many reasons why communication either doesn’t take place at all or it fails for some reason. One way to think about why this might be the case is to consider where is your focus of attention? Think about the last time you needed to have a difficult conversation or perhaps get up to present in public or even participate in an interview. It’s likely that any preoccupation prior to the ‘communication’ would have been focused on you. Will I do well? Will I say the wrong thing? Will I forget something?

Sound familiar…?

And if this is the case then several things may be happening, such as…
We may want to be ‘right’
We may be fearful of looking stupid or being criticized or attacked
We may choose language that focuses on our own needs/opinions
We may not listen
We may end up trying to avoid having the conversation
We may (consciously or unconsciously) be preparing counter-arguments for why the other person is wrong

And so the list goes on.

As a business owner occasionally I do have to step into some difficult conversations and back in the day when I was younger, and working in the corporate world, I sometimes would prepare a lot for such ‘encounters’. However looking back now, my ‘preparation’ was undoubtedly attempting to secure me in some of the above positions. Rather than focus on a true two-way communication.

 

Communication is Relational

 

Communication is so much more than words and information. It’s relational. Communication creates, builds and transforms our relationships with everyone from our family, friends, colleagues, boss, clients and anyone from the postman to the slightly grumpy neighbour!

So with this in mind, where is our ‘arc of focus’? Think of an arc stretching from you to the other person/audience and if THAT is where the focus is, we can transform how we communicate and how we feel about communication. And transform our relationships.

The arc of focus and The Big B

(Intellectual Dimension)

 

It takes effort (in all 4 dimension – physical, emotional, intellectual and intentional) to remove the focus from ourselves and truly focus on other people. As the novelist Zadie Smith recently pointed out on a podcast interview (The Adam Buxton Podcast ep.130) – when she met Tom Hanks, she thought what a kind and generous person he was and how he is so outward facing to everyone he meets. This is a generous thing to do and can have an enormous effect on other people. But as she also pointed out, it takes practice and it can look an exhausting thing to do for any length of time, especially if that focus of attention in communication is not reciprocated.

So, accepting we are not all perfect and selfless beings. And we are not even all Tom Hanks, what can we do? How can we shift our arc of focus to the ‘other’?

One thing to consider is to craft into your communication the benefit to the other person of what you are saying/offering. It sounds obvious but so often we can forget and we can communicate just from our own perspective – with an unconscious emphasis on what WE want. Build in the Big B (benefit) upfront and not only are people more likely to listen, but the communication is also much more likely to be relationship-focused.

 

 

Open-armed

(Physical dimension)

Our gestures say so much about where we are operating from and whilst gestures such as pointing fingers, folded arms, exasperated shrugs all perhaps have their place and… we can choose to use our physical gestures to engage relationally when speaking. Or even when being silent.

For example, open arms and open palms is a universal sign of ‘peace and openness’ and demonstrates empathy and a willingness to be open and that we are not hiding anything. This simple gesture can have an enormous impact on the neurochemistry of the person standing in front of us.

One of the most impactful examples of this that I find personally is when I manage to find myself in my more ‘conscious’ parenting state and respond to tantrums or anger from my kids with a simple open arm gesture. It doesn’t always work (and let’s be clear I don’t always find that it’s my first response!) but I am constantly surprised at how often it does work. It calms the situation and opens a new line of communication, where my child intuitively feels that I am open to hearing their viewpoint or underlying needs.

 

The Listening Vase

(Emotional Dimension)

 

Emotionally we can boost our empathy by listening rather than talking. Not only does this help people feel heard but as the listener you are more powerful than you perhaps think! Not only in terms of shaping the conversation and landing the communication – but with the added bonus of simultaneously focusing on and building the relationship. If you feel that communicating your message is all about you talking, think again. Think of someone else’s words as the liquid and you as the person listening is the vase. Depending on how you listen, facial expressions, body language, attitude, concentration, focus, you will be shifting the shape of the vase and how the message is finally formed. At the extreme of course – if you stop listening, the speaker will finally stop speaking!

The 2% Truth

(Intentional Dimension)

“I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honoured, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.” ― Ken Wilber
If we enter into conversation wanting to be right or to win it’s unlikely communication will truly take place or at least not land in a way that makes it effective. We each have our own truth and whilst we may not hold ourselves out to be perfect, flawless and always right, we do fundamentally have a viewpoint and a belief that is important to us. And of course… that is true of every other person on the planet. So… Intentionally, how can we hold both our own truth and also that of others? Without entering a battle or fully conceding? The answer is to understand that we are all partially right.

One way to practice this mindset is to enter a conversation knowing that whatever the other person says there will be at least a 2% truth in what they say… This small % means that we can hold our position/opinion as our own truth AND we can also allow space for the fact that the other person’s opinion or point of view even if vastly different to our own could at the very least hold a 2% truth even for ourselves.

 

Many of us may sometimes have conversations around the current pandemic and there are many differing opinions out there. I and many other people have for example travelled abroad recently for certain reasons (e.g. me – to collect my kids from their dad’s house in Italy). Yet some of us may question why people are travelling abroad at the moment especially when quick changes in quarantine measures could arise at any moment. My mind wants to leap to many defences of MY choice to travel abroad and yet taking a breath, perhaps I don’t need to justify my reasons. Perhaps I can be true both to the many thought-through reasons surrounding my decision, careful choices I had made, and how I had managed the trip cautiously – whilst also recognising that yes there is also a truth in mass movement not being ideal at the moment. Neither of us was fully right or wrong. There is truth everywhere not just somewhere.

The information you need to share (whether in a personal or professional relationship) is important to you and potentially important to others. And yet your communication does so much more than transfer information from one human being to another. You are creating a connection (Communication-ships!) between yourself and other human beings – in every moment. And if that is our focus every time we go to communicate, what might we change and… what might we create?