In your work/life, do people think you are angry when you are not, sad when you are not, even happy when you are not? Becoming mindful of the ways in which your message is communicated could open you up to a new understanding of the power behind your words.
Can you be more conscious of the way you communicate your thoughts? Doing so could make you much more aware of what you say and how you say it. While it can be difficult seeing the ways in which you interact with others, try imagining that you are looking at yourself from a third-person perspective. Be that objective observer. Look in the mirror. Visualize that you are the other person you are interacting with. Simply put, are the words that are being said commensurate with your body language and facial expressions?
For example, my co-partner often found himself being asked “What’s the matter?” Each time, as with the first, he was shocked by the question because to him everything was fine. His body language and facial expressions, however, told a different story. So ask yourself: Does my physical presentation match my words and thoughts? You may be surprised at what you learn.
As you walk through your life, put yourself in others’ shoes and see and hear everything that comes from you the way they see and hear it. As you picture how your gestures, expressions, and words are being perceived, try thinking how you would feel if you were interacting with yourself. Use this information to inform your choice of words and body language. This exercise will help you modify what you say and how you say it. In being much more deliberate and considerate in your interactions, those with whom you work and live will better understand what you want — and be better able to give it to you.
Are you smiling at a coworker who is annoying you? Are you nodding as though you are in agreement with an employee who is underperforming? Are your arms crossed as you give a positive review? Are you saying thank you with a frown? People feel this disconnect and have difficulty responding appropriately.
Often we may think that we are saying something a certain way, but it is only by taking a step outside of ourselves that we are truly able to ascertain how we come across. As we walk around our lives, we need to slow down enough to make our interactions much more purposeful and thoughtful. When we see ourselves as others see us, it paves the way for much more open and honest communication with others.
How do you show up?
Julie Sue Auslander, M.Ed, WPO, WBE
Chief Cultural Officer/ aka President
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