Emotions interfere with our ability to identify and maintain focus on the issue during conflict. The reason we are so eloquent after the conversation is over is because emotions have subsided and rational thought is now in command of our thinking. Now we know exactly what we should have said. Sometimes the emotion subsides quickly, allowing us the immediate opportunity to identify the real issue, make amends and resolve the issue. Sometimes the emotion lingers, however, resulting in grudges, plans for evening the score and counter attacks. When this happens, the original issue may be lost in an on-going drama that can last a lifetime.
One of the most powerful communication tools you possess is your nonverbal language, or body language. Yet all too often people are too busy to pay attention to what their actions say about them. What others see/feel/experience in action guides their interpretation of your personal style. Be mindful of the delicate interplay between verbal and nonverbal language. The key to successful communication is to ensure that your verbal and nonverbal language are in alignment and consistent.
If we want to communicate with influence we need to forget the Golden Rule - “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Of course we all want to be treated with dignity and respect; that is a given. But beyond that, it is important not to approach or communicate with others in the way we like to be treated, but approach them in the way that suits them the best; the Platinum Rule.
Research shows that people would rather talk with someone nice over someone knowledgeable. Think about that for a moment. Can you remember a time in your career that you knew the person who had the answer to the question you had, but they weren’t very nice; so instead you asked around among the people you liked, hoping they had the answer you needed?
Have you ever been frustrated by the detailed answer someone gave you to a simple question? Today’s society values brevity. People send short but frequent text messages to update others on their whereabouts and happenings. Few people listen to an entire State of the Union Address, but instead prefer to be informed later by the summary sound bites provided by the news media. This is not a new phenomenon created by technology, however.
Have you ever been around people who say whatever they think without any consideration for the appropriateness of their remarks? Perhaps you finally decided to approach them about their lack of tact, but received the response: “That’s just the way I am. People need to get used to me.”