Compassionate Communication and Corporate Mindfulness
Communication in the workplace is crucial to individual success and to the overall success of the company, and it begins the moment two people lay eyes on each other. The most successful teams are those in which individuals are the most positive when communicating with one another.
A leader’s ability to communicate values and the organizational vision is critical in driving the mission forward. What if you could turn an ordinary conversation into an extraordinary event in less than 15 minutes? Compassionate communication is a technique I have used to successfully help clients eliminate defensive behaviors that are inherent in any dialogue. This technique was created by Andrew Newberg M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman. It was designed to undermine old, habitual, and ineffective ways of communicating, and replace them with a more effective strategy that will enhance the workplace and personal relationships, reduce misunderstandings and conflicts, and generate mutual cooperation and top performance.
You will want to use this technique of communicating when teaching groups a new concept and to create interdependent team members, especially with those that have strong opposing viewpoints. I have successfully used this style of communication with strangers face-to-face and over the phone when temperatures were rising about a controversial topic. This style of communication is designed to alter the tempo and rhythm of speech while remaining in a relaxed state of heightened awareness. It integrates all the strategies of listening deeply, observing body language, and reflecting your deepest values.
The Twelve Components of Compassionate Communication
If you do your research, you’ll find a lot of evidence that compassionate communication is an incredible strategy practiced by highly effective leaders. This is the very technique American Express uses with their top executives, aiding in collaboration between departments and team members.
You will want to incorporate the outlined steps below when talking and listening to others. The first six are preparatory. This will create the mindset you will want to be in before you enter the room and engage another in conversation. They are best carried out in the following order:
1. Relax. Take a few moments to clear away any disruptive clutter in your mind. Take some deep breaths and spend a few moments in meditation.
2. Stay present. One of the benefits to regular meditation is that you are able to remain in the moment and concentrate on the present.
3. Cultivate inner silence. Reduce external and internal disrupters. Mute devices with a screen, and find a quiet place with few distractions.
4. Increase positivity. The engagement with the other person(s) may be related to a topic that is challenging the team. Avoid the tendency to look at the issue through the emotional and analytical mind. Make an intention to remain in the intelligent mind.
5. Reflect on your deepest values. What we value, emotionally, in life guides our path. Well- defined values will enable you to create an identity of who you are and what is most important to you.
6. Access a pleasant memory. Reflect on an event that had a positive outcome and when you were successful. Create a full-color image in your mind that uses all of your senses. Choose a memory where you can see, touch, and smell the surroundings.
These steps create an inner state of intense awareness and calm, which is essential for engaging in one of the most crucial aspects of communication.
7. Observe the non-verbal cues. The words that come out of our mouth are only part of our communication. Observe the body language of the other person(s). Are they in a defensive posture? What are their facial expressions telling you? If these non-verbal cues are negative, don’t proceed. Attempt to lighten the mood or reschedule the engagement.
Once you have determined that the other person(s) are in a positive state, engage in dialogue with the following five strategies:
8. Express appreciation. Servant leaders are aware that they have teams of people that are better than they are in certain areas. Acknowledge their value to the organization.
9. Speak warmly. Express yourself with sincerity.
10. Speak slowly. This can be especially challenging for busy executive type A’s. Become mindful of the tempo of your speech, and then slow it down. If you speak at 100 mph, slow it down to 55.
11. Speak briefly. Remain fluid in your agenda, and consider not verbally stating all that is on your mind. Have the mindset that you will speak less than you listen.
12. Listen deeply. When you listen more than speaking, you’ll gain more understanding of the other person's thought process. You can gather more feedback that will enable you to make wiser decisions. There can be incredible insights revealed in solving a particular organizational challenge. Tap into the power of the collective.
I have created a video that will help you to learn how to communicate with compassion, allowing you to influence change.
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Change your state of mind and change your life. It is a good practice to re-evaluate your values every three to four months. It can be eye-opening to see the changes in values. The conscious realization can also guide you in creating a new belief system that fits with your newly defined values.
Are you ready to communicate more effectively and accelerate team performance? Let’s get started and create a strategic action map that will guide your executive decisions with laser accuracy.
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