Build a base for Better Communication
Conversation may be the most important life skill that you never studied in school. Is your conversation spinning in circles? Many approaches to better communication are totally skill-focused, restricted to learning tools like “active listening.” More Detail Here
Please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Active Listening. Psychologist Abraham Malow knew what he was saying. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” Conversation deals with multiple problems, and sophisticated dynamics. A conversation that is overloaded with active listening sounds wooden and artificial.
Mindful Conversation broadens the base. It builds from a solid foundation of values, while it broadens the scope to include different levels of conversation (Level 1, Me – You; Level 2, Me – Me; Level 3, Me – Us.)
The Values Base for Mindful Conversation
Mindful Conversation rests on a values model called C.A.R.E. – “Curiosity, Authenticity, Respect, and Empathy.” Any tool, such as active listening, can be used in support of these values. But active litening can equally be used completely in contradiction to these values. You can active listen inauthentically and sarcastically. The values are the basis for the appropriate use of the tool.
This and future blogs will focus on what each of the four values in the C.A.R.E. model means. Explore how the conscious application of these values raises conversation up from a means of getting what I want, to an expression of genuine humanity. People now want to listen to you. You connect far more deeply with friends and family.
Curiosity is all about trying to understand. It requires setting aside (at least for some time) judgment and the desire to control. It means resisting the temptation always to tell your own story. The most basic tool of Curiosity is the question. Most of us learned about raising our hand in school, then lowering it and listening. But many have forgotten this routine. Do you know people who basically never ask a question? They are either not curious, don’t want to sound naive or ignorant, or are unable to gain control over their own ego.
Do you at times not ask a question for one of these reasons?
Listen to Albert Einstein’s legendary curiosity. “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask. Once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” Learning to ask questions and then how to ask good questions is one of the principle thrusts of Mindful Conversation. If you’re interested in a great book on the topic, check out Will Wise’s Ask Powerful Questions
Turn Up Your Curiosity Meter
Interested in learning more about Mindful Conversation? I am offering a 9 week online class starting Sept 22. You’ll also find a 50% discount because this is the first time I’m using the Teachable platform. For more information and/or registration for this course, go to Mindful Conversation: Speak Openly, Connect Deeply