Growing up, I’ve always had a quiet personality. In the past, I opted to take in the world and all of its experiences rather than project myself at it. So I guess ‘my power of communication’ in my earlier years was ‘speechless’. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, I was just extremely shy and didn’t understand what my opinions were worth. As a child I would quietly pick and choose when to subtly inject my thoughts and opinions into adult conversations and would be completely shocked that more often than not, they would continue their conversation in-line with what I had said to them.
I believe we could learn a lot from children’s opinions largely because they are unfiltered but mostly because children see the world differently. I recently watched a mini series on television about children engaged in debates about various life topics. I found their perspective about life uniquely refreshing.
Connecting the Dots
From an early age I’ve loved everything about books the illustrations, the characters, learning new words and their meanings and was always branded a bookworm by my friends-and-family.
At the tender age of 10 years old I decided to write an adventure story about collecting little paper rings from various ‘fantasy type places’. It was an interactive story where the reader (aka classmates) would need to lift various flaps or solve puzzles to find rings. At the time I didn’t know the impact that writing would have on me or other people. To this day, I still have the books, although they are collecting dust in my attic. At the back of by mind they have been my driving force in life. I’m sure if you think back to your younger years, you’ll remember what really motivated you and gave you a real sense of achievement and passionate drive regardless of whether you received acknowledgement.
Paving the Path
On my exasperating path to achieving my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology, I begun to confidently express myself through written and verbal communication. This led me to have a greater understanding of ‘The Power of Communication’.
I realized that, “life is about communication. But not frivolously executed communication; powerful communication should convey your needs, thoughts, opinions and feelings. Powerful communication should engage you in healthy debates without letting your emotions take over. Powerful communication should allow you to see things from other people’s perspective, whether you agree with them or not which should impart new knowledge”. Looking back I can now connect my dots in life. Can you connect your dots?
Strengthen your Communication
I remember reading an article called the ‘Art of Communication’, where an analogy was used called ‘Taking a Sip’ … in order to be an active listener. The article went on to explain that you should take a physical or metaphorical sip to learn from others. Amongst other things, this helped me to consider what I had learnt in order to strengthen my communication:
1. Actively Listen:
We have a tendency to think we are always right, right. Well, believe it or not, in life we have like-minded people and those with differing perspectives.The key is trying to understand where other people are coming from,which can be incredibly difficult. But if you take the time to really tune into what other people are saying, along with gaining new knowledge, you may learn a multitude more about them than the actual words that are coming out of their mouths. This will help you to understand other people’s character, values and opinions leading to stronger connections to others.
2. Reasonably Reflect:
We all lead busy lives, darting from moment to moment and interaction to interaction sometimes without any acknowledgement on the part we play. So it is incredibly important to reasonably reflect on interactions with others. Consider, what your body language, your mood and your radiating energy tells others about you. I don’t think you should use this process to over analyse everything you do hence the word ‘reasonably’. However, I think it’s important to be mindful of the ‘you’ that you present to others in any given situation.
3. Think it, Believe it, Say it:
We have hundreds of thousands of thoughts a day. We tune into some and ignore others. If you have something playing on your mind, listen to your inner voice and address it with the right person. I find that as adults we often have ‘go to words’ to outwardly express how we are feeling. I used to say ‘I’m fine’ or I’m ok’, when in fact I wasn’t completely ‘fine’ or ‘ok’. Do you have ‘go to words’? And do you use it to stop yourself from exploring how you are really feeling?. Well, may I suggest that you take a moment to selectively think it, believe it and say it. I’m not suggesting you should tell your entire life story from start to finish to anyone who cares to listen. What I am promoting is a balanced sense of honesty.
It seems quite ironic that ‘The Power of Communication’ for me used to be ‘speechless’, because I’m proud to say ‘I am now a teacher’ and use my voice ALL the time. See how I’m still connecting the dots. But being a teacher is much more than talking, it’s also about the listening and reflecting (and a whole load of paperwork!).
So here is what I would like you to do, commit to following my ‘Strengthen your Communication’ advice. See what impact they have in your life. What did you learn about others? What did you learn about yourself? Did you build stronger connections with others?. I would love you to share your stories.
As we are all navigating through this marvellous creation called life. We often wonder how some make it work while others are barely making it. The power of communication could be one of the answers that helps you to improve the navigation process.
‘Life is like a flower – as one petal opens (in this case a communication petal) we experience a little more of life’.
Keyz Johnson has always been passionate about living life to the fullest and stands by the by the mantra ‘Walk Your Own Path the Best Way You Can’.
Keyz Johnson is an active writer and blogs at YourKibitz.com, which offers friendly and informal advice that will motivate, inspire and bring humour to life’s trials and triumphs.