From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – Had some excellent training this past week about relationship building and I was surprised that so much of the content was about good communication. I reflected on how, ultimately, the bedrock of relationship is communication, understanding, holding space, being clear and really seeking to understand another person.
I am always surprised to see the breakdown of communication – actual words said being only 7% of a conversation, paraverbal (messages that we transmit through the tone, pitch and pacing of our voices) at 55% and body language at 38%. This means that all those friends with whom I largely only text have no idea what I am saying most of the time. And in this time where conversation is mostly constrained to virtual communications, we have to work harder to understand what is being said. This is challenging in a time when it also feels like we are working just a little harder to do everything that we do.
Luckily, the pay off to good communication is a huge one. If we are really focused – not on what to say next, not on the TV show in the background, not on thoughts of what might be for supper – really focused on what is
being said and how – everyone rises. We can understand not only
the message, but the person, a little better.
I think we all know how it feels to be really heard, really seen, understood and valued. This is a gift we can offer over and over, to all. It takes practice to quiet all of the other noise, to seek clarification, and to pay close attention.
Listening creates opportunity to see a person freshly, to learn something new and to create a new link. If the words are only 7%, let’s get curious about all that we are missing with each other – what we are really saying and who we really are.
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