Most of our conversations just happen, and depending on your level of engagement, your input can range from casual reactionary comments to more thoughtful responses.
When you’re present—in mind, body, and heart—you can actively listen and foster a shared purpose with others. By leading the discussion to deeper, more meaningful dialogue, you demonstrate that you’re interested in the other person and not just focused on your goals and what’s important to you.
Conversation and dialogue.
In Alan Seale’s book, Create a World That Works, he compares conversation and dialogue, indicating:
“Whereas conversation is about exchanging ideas and information, dialogue is about exploring meaning and discovering deeper insights and awareness.”
“Dialogue is much more about listening than speaking. And that listening is done at a deep and profound level; it is listening beneath the words and the gestures to find the sources of the words. It’s about getting to essence and letting essence think, rather than interpreting what we may think. There is no analyzing in dialogue, only discovery. No figuring out, but rather unfolding revelation.”
Furthermore, Seale explains that conversations look at the past or future, where at least one person has an agenda. In contrast, dialogue occurs in the present moment and is all about discovery and possibilities.
Turn your attention to what’s being said rather than interpreting.
When you provide a space for courageous communication, you inspire dialogue. By listening with positive intention and releasing the need to control the agenda or outcome, you invite others to speak and express themselves freely. You open yourself to truly hearing what another person is saying. By responding with kindness and appreciation, while acknowledging and confirming what you heard, you create a meaningful moment where both parties have learned more about one another. These shared discoveries—no matter how short or long—cultivate acceptance and strengthen relationships. As you balance your innate tendency to listen or talk, here are five mindful practices to enhance your communication approach.
Assess how you’re feeling before engaging.
We all emit an energy and vibe through our body language, tone, and attitude. People will sense if you’re fully committed and make assumptions about whether or not they can trust you. Check-in with how you’re feeling at that moment. Are your emotions and body calm and at peace? Have you picked up negative energy from another meeting? Do you feel nervous, anxious, or angry about something else? Often, we’re unaware that our energy can shift the dynamic or atmosphere of an interaction. To balance your tendencies and stretch outside your comfort zone, here are six ways to keep your communication in check.
Harness your YOU-ness and activate your best.
Self-leadership is about getting to know yourself better and applying that knowledge to how you act, think, and feel. To learn more about yourself and how to bolster your interpersonal relationships, you can use these various assessments as the foundation for professional development and learning. My approach is personalized and customized. Schedule a call to learn more.