How to Express Yourself for More Connection + Effective Communications
Expressing ourselves clearly and honestly – whether personal or professionally – is not only supportive of effective outcomes in our businesses and at work, it is shown to be essential to our well-being and fulfillment.
When we’re in a relationship where we feel listened to and understood, we consider ourselves fortunate because we know how rare that experience can be.
Check out the video here where I discuss the one key to more effective communication:
Most of us save our most intimate selves for the people who, along with us, help to create an open space where we feel free to express ourselves and listen without judgment.
As Brad Powell and I explored in this recent Facebook Live interview, it’s not easy being more vulnerable and open. And yet it’s important that we be willing to be more vulnerable and real if we expect to receive a vulnerable, authentic connection in return.
These relationships – which thrive on open communication – can mean the difference between separation and connection, between an aligned and supportive team or a team working at cross-purposes, between feeling lonely or feeling a deep sense of belonging and even meaning.
- At work, this can mean the difference between a successful project or outcome or one where we waste a great deal of energy, time or money without getting the results we’d envisioned.
- In our personal lives, this can mean the difference between inauthentic relationships and a loving, intimate connection with those we care about most.
We all want to feel heard, understood, and loved. Clear communication from a place of connection and centeredness makes this possible.
Sometimes problems arise in the process of expressing how we feel, but it is always worth it to do the work. Even in our less intimate relationships, for instance with colleagues at work or with clients, expressing ourselves clearly, respectfully and honestly is essential to a shared sense of well-being. It also promotes more effective and efficient outcomes.
Whether at home with family and loved ones or in the outside world, at work, in our community, socializing with friends, successful communication asks that we take the time to consider what it is we need to express.
Without some advance thought and effective techniques, we can easily:
- blunder through our personal and professional relationships like the proverbial bull in a china shop
- spend a lot of time as well as mental and emotional energy worrying about a conversation
- spend too much time and energy talking to others about a communication we instead need to have directly with the person or parties involved or
- go in circles over topics without clear resolution or satisfactory outcomes
Alternately, too much advance thought can stifle us or cause us to cushion our message to the extent that we end up saying nothing at all – or confusing things further. If you are spending too much time thinking about things which you are not expressing, this in itself can get in your way.
How to Communicate Clearly For More Effective Outcomes
The good news is that there are many methods that have been shown to help, from meditation to visualization to journaling to even scripting and practicing a difficult conversation with a colleague, coach or trusted mentor.
There are many techniques I use with clients during a coaching session when they are facing a difficult conversation or struggling to get clear on a desired outcome from a communication. Here are three you can try for yourself:
- Meditation. We can meditate by posing a question we wish to get clarity on and then sitting quietly and focus on our breath. Once we are in a calm and centered place mentally, we can find more clarity on what does (and does not) need to be said, what our desired outcome is (for instance, is there an action we wish to see or to take) as well as how to approach it. Even better, if the person we need to communicate with is open to sitting in meditation together for a short period of time before speaking, this can be invaluable. When we are calm and centered, we can count on ourselves to speak and respond truthfully, from a safer-feeling place where we are connected with ourselves. We can then connect with the other from this place.
- Scripting. If writing comes easily, we can write out what we need to say; it may take several drafts, but you will gain clarity through the process and eventually find the words. Even better, once you’ve done this, practice the difficult conversation with a trusted colleague, coach or mentor.
- Visualization. A future visualization in which we envision sitting with the person can also be a great precedent to an actual conversation. Envision how you’d like for the exchange to go: what are you saying, thinking and feeling? What is the other person saying? How are they acting? Envision a successful outcome. If obstacles or concerns arise, envision how you will work through them. If you’re not experienced in this technique, it’s helpful to have someone who is to guide you through it.
The key is to find ways to center yourself and to find more clarity so that you communicate meaningfully, lovingly, and wisely. This does not need to take a long time. It does get easier and more natural with practice.
In this way, we honor our colleagues, clients and companions. We create relationships in which there is a genuine sense of understanding and respect. We also avoid spending a lot of time as well as mental and emotional energy worrying about a conversation, talking to others about a communication we need to have with someone else, or going in circles over topics without clear resolution or satisfactory outcomes. In this way, we foster a sense of trust and, ultimately, more effective and efficient outcomes.
If you enjoyed this post and want support in moving forward in a new way by having a challenging conversation, complete this brief form to see if you qualify for a complimentary strategy session.