Four Qualities of Mindful Communication
Let's move on to the four foundations of mindful communication or the four qualities of mindful communication the first one I need to attribute to my wonderful friend and author michael carroll who wrote an incredible book called awake at work and it's a beautiful, beautiful book about bringing mindfulness into the workplace he also wrote the mindful leader and he's an awesome guy and I love him and he said this to me once and I have never forgotten it and it is the first foundation of mindful communication and it is to always seek to maximize the other person's position so if you're in a conversation of an intimate or professional nature, we usually sit down with our first notion being how can I get what I need out of this and of course we have to be intelligent and that's right? How can I get what I need? How can I make this person see it the way I see it? How can I leave this conversation with these concessions or these agreements or whatever it is not saying don't think about those...
things, but I'm saying first seek to maximize the other person's position so how do you do that? How do you do that exactly what you were talking about about what you were doing in your meeting with the c e o r c e o c u c e o of a company that you wanted toe work with or are working with you were interested you were curious so if you two if you sit down to a conversation with and immediately place your mind on the other person it has multiple consequences the first consequences you're not focused on your own anxiety it's a gesture of power to place your attention on the other person it's when we're afraid and uncertain that were like cling to what we need to happen and I can't stop thinking about what that thing is that we need to happen but when we can relax it's like acting like a king or queen we can relax I'm good I'm so confident in myself in my ability to handle things that I can take my attention off myself and place it on you it's very powerful do you agree with me? Does that sound right? Sorry um the second sort of result of that issue actually learn things that are really interesting and you make an important come making important connection you make a relationship and when you are trying to negotiate something or talk about something and your attention is on how do I help this person get what they want not instead of what I want but how do I also help them this is the meaning of win win so win win is often something that we just give lip service to but when we really make that a priority in our communication style it creates genuine connection and it is an indication of power and we stop being so nervous so that's the first quality, the first foundation of mindful communication seek to maximize the other person's position thank you, michael carroll. And to do that you have to place your mind on them and on the interaction when your mind is only on yourself and what you're thinking what you need I would not call that mindful communication that makes sense. The second foundation of mindful communication is called timing, so we sit down to have a conversation with something and we have three things to say or whatever it might be and we just want to get them out but it might not be appropriate. I know they say timing is everything and it really is so what you have to say may be completely intelligent and accurate and right, but if you say that the wrong time at a ton, which means a time when no one will hear it, then it doesn't matter how smart it is. So the way you know, timing is by listening and paying very close attention to what the other person is saying, how you feel and what is happening in this space between you so the space between you, by the way, is of paramount importance that's where the conversation is taking place so it's a third thing there's you me and there's thie us that is happening right now so you may have noticed that you something happens to you and you tell one friend the story and it feels a certain way to you like you's noticed different things about this story or you feel smarter you feel stupid or whatever it is but then you tell the same story to a different person and suddenly it's a different story if if you felt smart now you feel stupid or vice versa why why does it feel by can you sit down and talk with some people on dh that's like oh it's so easy to talk to them and with others it isn't it's not necessarily because of anything you're doing or they're doing it's something to do with the meeting of the two minds and when you place your attention on that space but the liminal space between you and the other person as opposed to the volley of words your timing could be impeccable again it's predicated on listening and here's a great definition of listening that a friend of mine told me listening is when you stop thinking your thoughts and start thinking mine so in other words you're not just hearing me through the lens of your own mind going this means that that means that so she said this I thought she was going to say that that's not listening it's not a bad thing to do but listening is when you let all of that go completely and instead it's like you're trying on my thoughts in your own mind and you're letting them be there, so to do that you is also a gesture of great courage you're letting your own thoughts go for the moment and you're letting another person's thoughts fill your mind that's obviously requires a lot of confidence, so when you stop thinking your thoughts and start thinking mine, you're listening and when you're listening, your timing can be right and when your timing is right, you're having a mindful communication with someone are you digging my voodoo? Okay? Uh the third quality of mindful communication is kind of a hard word to say and it's a made up word its agenda lawlessness agenda listening so of course, obviously we have an agenda in every conversation we have, especially when it's a professional conversation we want something to arise, but just as with our mindfulness meditation, if we have an agenda for it that's fine, but if we sit down with that agenda and try to apply it during the mindfulness meditation, it drains them all the magic from the practice. So of course we have an agenda when we're sitting down to have a conversation with someone, but if we are unable to let go of that agenda to place our attention on the actual conversation then we're not having a mindful communication we're just trying to push our agenda so you can't let your gender go your jet is important and it should be you should rock your agenda but in the act of communicating if all you're doing is rocking the agenda you're not communicating well he's communicating with yourself so letting the agenda go and actually being present in the communication is an aspect of mindful communication and the final um aspect is ah being comfortable with discomfort because to do these things teo try to maximize the other person's position to listen and pay attention to timing in the space between you and to let go of your agenda especially these are uncomfortable things and if in our communications were just trying to become comfortable we're gonna miss the real communication and we're gonna miss the opportunity to go deeper and we're going to miss the opportunity to connect and we're going to miss the opportunity to express ourselves and we're going to miss the other person's expression if all we're doing is trying to be comfortable so when you could develop a tolerance for discomfort it's very very valuable because usually when we feel uncomfortable we we want to leave we want to find a way to be comfortable but when you can walk into a situation uncomfortable and be uncomfortable but not have that mandate your actions this is powerful so how do you develop comfort with discomfort or tolerance for discomfort? Well, of course, I think it's a gesture of mindfulness, so you practice on your cushions sitting with the times that you feel comfortable in the times that you feel uncomfortable and you see that you can do it, you can really do it. Discomfort is like one instrument in a great symphony that's going on inside you at all times, but usually we just focus on that one instrument when it's something negative or painful, but when we can expand our mind and here the greater, uh, composition as it were, we have a lot of options, and we're not being run by our quote unquote negativity, she asked on a big, big fan of negativity. So I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, so becoming comfortable with discomfort is the fourth foundation of mindful communication, and to employ these things requires tremendous self awareness. That's why this course is called become a better communicator through mindful communication. Mindful communication has to have self awareness in it knowledge of your own style, which is what we spent the last many hours together talking about, and it and a willingness and ability to attune to the other person style and identify it. So I'm sort of feeling, as I'm saying these things that I wish I could tell you here the five steps to have a great conversation know your audience use I statements and, you know, things that are really concrete, but there are no such rules. There's, just the way you hold your mind. So all of this is about how you would do that. So what do you think? Does that sound right to you? Do you have questions? Doesn't oh, good e got a thumbs up? Yeah, I have a question about timing, huh? So I find that in meetings, if you dont interject, cut somebody off and get your point in, you will never get a chance to talk and a lot of times, I mean, it is uncomfortable like that were break when you cut somebody off and they look at you weird and then you're like, okay, I'm gonna go with it anyways, you have the moment, but I feel that if I stay, I wait for them to finish and someone else is going to take that opportunity, and someone else is gonna take that always starting. Now, I'll have no say in the conversation, right, so timing doesn't need being polite necessarily, or having everybody have their say. You chose the right timing you're like I know if I don't cut in right now I'm not going to get my pete I'm not gonna get heard I think your timing is good so in the environment that you're in that's the right timing does that make sense yeah yeah do what what's this sort of not part I still feel that it's rude to do that and I'm conscious of coming across a star person but in a sense that if your samba very aggressive like people who will do that I mean I don't think I'll necessarily stand out as the rude one because everybody else is doing it but you feel uncomfortable doing it because it's not the manners you were taught and that makes sense and that's great but in the environment you're in the manners the rules of engagement have changed. So for better or worse you're being smart I would say even though I know it doesn't feel good, there is no question what if you're addressing a group like a band for example and you deal with a variety of personality types then how are you going to listen through their minds? Right? So that's very interesting so and I want it when you say bad a band I'm like forget it's not gonna work because I've been and I used to work in the music business and I conversations with bands um but what you're saying um is when there's a group of piers what there's always usually a band later but say there's a group of pierre's three quarters of the people are peers and everybody has a different point of view how do you use timing is that is that your question uh well I was thinking more in terms of the number yeah time listen listen through their mind right right right, right because you still have an agenda you have a point to meet you have to get somewhere yeah, so that's you can forget about that so there's no simple answer to that obviously but your mindfulness your presence of mind is the only sort of hope so that you can read the vibe of the situation and you can feel okay this person's got something to say but they're not saying it but they're resentful in there seething I better call that out so they don't walk away pissed off and this person is dominating and from how we need to get them to shut up because they're just taking up all the space and this person is crying something I said must have hurt their feelings I want to find out about it but I know they don't like talking in front of others so I'm gonna wait and do it later and so forth so all of this is going on all the time when you're talking to a group and it can become exhausting um if you don't want to do it, but if you want to do it, if you like, this is the way to do it then it's just how it is so there's also a time tohave band meetings at a time where the band is not gonna work and you don't know what that time is until you actually weighed in and then you make judgments constantly, ok, I was going to talk bring this up, but now I'm not feeling it and whatever I'm not feeling it means to you when that happens, you should listen and you should cut we'll do it later because even though I was planned for now and I want to do it now and I have to do it now, it's not gonna work now, so plan b usually what ends up happening? And then what happens after that? Well, it gets put off just keeps getting put off yeah, it's a push pull constantly and, you know, the, uh, we're talking about the practice of mindfulness being both mindfulness and awareness there's a precise aspect in an open aspect. So in a sense in your mind, when you're practicing mindfulness and in your conversations, you could do this to your zooming constantly back and forth between a tight focus and a wide focus constantly and it's it's happening all the time even like right now in this moment your mind is zooming in and zooming out so um when you're in a conversation especially with a group and everyone's talking or needs to weigh in riding that constantly changing focus and staying with it is important, I wish I could offer something more concrete but again mindful communication is about how you hold your mind so in this case you have to be looking at your objective which is are we gonna take this gig or not or whatever it might be and everybody has to say whether they want to have to not forget about that but let that be here for a moment while you're actually having the conversation then and keep trying to draw this over here as best you can but if you actually listen to what people are saying without spacing it out and getting carried away you know or letting it get derailed too much but saying interesting not the point right now let's stay on this let's stay on this once we get to this then we'll go to that is, you know, it's like uh conducting an orchestra but you're in a band. So you whatyou why you showed up stephen, you said I'm here to be heard above the noise and I'm hurting cats right now you've learned how to conduct an orc krista alright, so does not feel e welcome and and I look forward teo, the fruits of your practice in practising this conducting because I know you're going to do it well because you already understand the principle and it's a very fascinating thing to try to do and I wish you well with it. Thank you. Welcome. Yes, when is the best time to communicate with her agenda? And without it, you know there are times when you have to control then you don't have to what what is the best time? Um, I don't know, you know that's a choice that you make the question is when is the right time too? Teo push an agenda and when's the right time to let in agenda go and of course I have no way of knowing, but I'm not your judgment call now. Yeah, okay, we've got to make this decision the agenda is gotta go gotta accomplish this, but you have to know two ways about it. Other times it may be like, uh, we got a little time people don't seem to know what they're thinking yet let me try to goose it a little bit in this direction, but not try to close, you know, seal the deal right now, but you always have to be thinking about your agenda but you can't but what I'm at suggesting that you don't do all the time is try to apply it to the conversation but listen instead and keeping your mind on well this is what I what what I'm hoping for what I need to do the decisions I need to be made but if you ride the actual conversation and try toe steer it in that direction you have a much better chance of getting there than if you just don't pay attention to those things so you're the arbiter you're the judge your mindfulness rules the day so there's a question you should ask yourself uh we'll just related to that of my own kind of experience with timing and what I I used to do wrong now kind of learning this kind of thing more recently myself works better uh is paying attention to that point like sales I don't sell things but I sell myself you two in that certain so there's a certain point when somebody really wants that thing you know our product or persons help and I think toe kind of wait it out until there that moment that they're going for that opposed to just kind of push it again pushing one's agenda okay I want to sell this right now I want you to sign on the dotted line but they're not ready yet and if you do if I find if I do it too soon then it's, just it's done. But if you kind of be very patient than at a certain point and they'll do anything.