Communications – Part 1: It’s about our words

GOOD Evening everyone,

We are now well into the month of February and it’s been a few weeks since my last blog. Over the past few weeks, I had an “ah ha” moment around our leadership topic of “Communication”. My previous blogs have talked about “Better Connecting” and “Catching the ball,” but the “ah ha” moment I just had warrants a 2 part blog. The topic this month is…

Communication – It’s about our words

  • Part 1: Choosing the right words
  • Part 2: What do you mean? (coming next week)

Part 1: Choosing the right words

There are many forms of personality profiling. Colors, Meyers Briggs, DISC, etc. The DISC profile is one that resonates with me. It’s intended to be used as a tool to help you understand the person(s) you are attempting to communicate with. There is no right or wrong profile. On the DISC profile (http://www.discprofile.com/whatisdisc.htm), I am a high “D” which stand for Dominance. This trait tends to place emphasis on shaping the environment by overcoming the opposition to accomplish results. Challenging others and self are typical traits of a high “D”. My communication can come across as intimidating or even dictatorial. These aren’t flattering adjectives – but I’m lucky to have a growing self-awareness and I’m working on “softening” my communication every day — especially when I have to deal with different personality type like a high “I” or high “C”.

In working with a variety of people, I have realized that if I truly want to connect with them you need to understand their personality types and adapt/flex your communication style to them. Communicating with others that way I prefer to be communicated to will not result in “connection”. Unfortunately, this is not enough. Choosing the right words is equally important. The right sequence of words can be the difference between the listener building a wall versus. being open to listening to your message.

  • Can you imagine a great message with valuable insights on how an organization can grow/expand getting lost because people have just tuned you out after the first sentence?
  • Can you imagine talking with your wife about the merits of a “Will” or a “Living Will” (the latter being much more difficult) and being shut down because it’s too painful to talk about it?
  • Can you imagine talking with your children about sex and drugs, if you choose the wrong words to start the conversation?

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how noteworthy your message is if the recipient is not receiving it. Then, there are also times when it doesn’t even matter what you say, how you say it, and whether or not you understand an individual’s preferred communication style – they are not hearing you. In those situations, I believe PATIENCE is definitely a VIRTUE and you just have to give the other person time.

However, I have seen that in a majority of scenarios, choosing the right words will “disarm” any potential conflict, so that you can actually have an engaging discussion with others — thereby better connecting with each other.

This is a major feat — believe me. Recognizing this challenge of choosing the right words (which is truly an opportunity) will be a great step to better connecting with others — either at home or at work. If you’re like me, you will choose what you believe are the right words and it still won’t be good enough for some people. So, I choose again to use different words and sometimes I get better results and sometimes I get even worse results! Really – it’s a personal journey! And I see it as a journey for my peers and colleagues as well.

Look at all the great leaders before us. I’m sure they had similar issues, but they stayed tenacious and had the conviction to keep connecting on different angles. I’m inspired by them and intend to do the same.

Part 2 of this blog will be coming within a week so please check back soon. I’ll be reflecting on the fact that even if you choose the right words, PEOPLE may have different definitions of that word!

Thanks for listening and if you have found this valuable, please share this blog with others!

Leadership Quote of the Month:

“Leaders must be tough enough to fight, tender enough to cry, human enough to make mistakes, humble enough to admit them, strong enough to absorb the pain, and resilient enough to bounce back and keep on moving.” — Jesse Jackson

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