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June

2009

 
Getting Derailed Communication
      
Back on Track

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

Feature Article  No time? Listen to the

  podcast version (8:43 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links

 

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Getting Derailed Communication Back On Track

(click for podcast version)

 

So Many Rails, So Little Time

A difference of opinion or argument can be healthy and productive. When it’s more about less than conscious communication process, we get the endless tug-of-war that eats our time and energy. Think about how much time you spent with an initial interaction that went badly, and then add the amount of time you spent thinking about it afterward, plus the follow up communication time, plus how much more time you now spend thinking about the follow up, then multiply that times how many occurrences in a day, and times everyone else spending their time and energy the same way, and you’ll see we’re talking about a vast amount of time and energy being wasted. That’s a valuable resource we can reclaim.

There are many things we do to de-rail our communication, from assuming and projecting, to “Being Right,” and maybe if we know more about the existing tracks, we’ll recognize the signs of going off of them before we crash. The vast majority of the struggles we have in communication are about what I’ll call the Translation level.

This is a two dimensional model, where we face each other sitting in a circle by the beach. Some of us see only ocean in our field of view, some see only sand, and some see different bits of both. Taking this model off the beach, it could just as easily be seeing two different views of a political or business issue. One person only sees sand, another only the water, and still another sees bits of both. This flat, clock-face model is useful for translation questions. Often a difference of opinion will even include the words, “well you may see it like that, but I see it like this,” implying that model of facing different directions. This is where the tracks we’re on can be identified by their origins; our Core Processing Centers.

These Core Processing Centers - how we take in and organize information - shape our translation of the world around us. Do I translate something as it affects who I am in the world? Do I see it as affecting safety in some way? Do I translate it through a barometer of how I think things should be? This not only presents our core processing center’s perspective, but that perspective shapes our language and communication style too.

 

Using Their Perspective

The exact same person who prefaces a sentence with “I think ____,” will also likely manage incoming information with a built in “threat-model” that will include scarcity and an avoidance of anxiety in their natural way of organizing. Another person who prefaces a sentence with “I feel_____,” will likely manage incoming information through a filter of social placement and aspiration toward an ideal. In previous articles, I’ve mentioned the connection between translating into a Big Picture vs. a Detail Oriented view and the tempo of our speech.

 

This is a secondary organization of input, invariably stemming from a translation of time or details impacting Identity, Safety, or Rightness. For example a person who’s sense of identity is a “busy, important person,” or a someone who connects survival with continuous movement will be averse to the time required to process details, whereas another person will equate those details with their own survival. These are enormously different ways to be in the same world.  Paying attention to this and working with it, rather than in the dark, gives us a phenomenal advantage when it comes to communication.

The appeal of a product or service is always about connecting to the prospect. Understanding how that prospect translates the world around them gives you more insight into that connection than anything else you can do.

Let’s get back to our “flat” model of the people sitting in the circle. I call it flat because everyone is at the same general level of consciousness (the same altitude; nobody is underground or floating on a cloud). When we visualize this gathering of perspectives, and the Roundtable-like equality of each, we get a bonus.

In this scenario, it would seem absurd to assert one’s perspective as being “right,” making others “wrong.” This realization is the first step to a higher stage of consciousness. Just by virtue of us sitting around that circle looking at each other, we’ve taken on this higher level that allows for not having the “whole truth,” individually but understanding that we have a more accurate perspective together. This illustrates how Altitude is more of a Transformational perspective than a Translational one. Differences in altitude help create another potential area of communication breakdown and conflict, and this is a complex enough topic to warrant its own exploration. We’ll play with that in our next installment.

For now, staying with Translational differences, we can have a huge impact on the amount of conflict we encounter and our own effectiveness. By understanding these different Translational differences, we can work with others in a completely different way. Rather than starting with the assumption that we have the singular True perspective, and the other person is wrong, we can learn where the other person is coming from, and understand the issue from their Translation.

For example, if we Translate from a position of maintaining safety, another person’s Translation, putting all the same observations through an organizing process of social position and identity, will likely organize the information very differently. They’re not wrong, and now we can see where they’re coming from. Now we can negotiate with, or sell to them, understanding their motivations. We can convey an action plan in our own Translation, plus we can convey it in other Translations as well. This is effectively speaking the same languages as our listeners; working with their imagery and their metaphors, rather than trying to “make them” understand ours. Why? So they actually “get it.”

 

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Quick Communication Tip

 

Triple Bottom Line of Communication

When we’re addressing a single person, we can assess their core perspective by listening to their language choices and the organization of their arguments. There will be a central theme of identity, rightness, or safety, that shapes and organizes their thoughts and feelings and they will express this. When we’re really listening, we can pick up on this, and organize our “argument” in their form of organizing. This is very similar to speaking the language of another people when visiting their land.


Addressing a group is in some ways trickier, and in some ways simpler. We don’t have the advantage of listening to them express their perspectives, but we can be pretty sure that there will be a mixture of all three types represented. This means developing a way of expressing what we want to convey with a kind of triple bottom line approach. When we talk about the new program being introduced, we need to address how it will affect people from their perspective of identity and social position, as well as safety, security, and not creating anxiety. Furthermore, we need to show how it is the “right thing to do,” from a perspective of ethics. When we cover all three processing centers in our approach, we reach everyone.

 

Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.

 

 

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Resource Links:

 

Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"

Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)

Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview for Entrepreneur Magazine Radio w/ R. Wolter

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? come visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?
 

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Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!

 

 




Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
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