Communication in the Era of Covid
It’s never been more challenging to communicate and never more important. Covid affects everything. We don’t just bump into people the way we used to. Don’t just assume we can talk. Because now there’s a screen between me and most of my Conversation Partners (CP’s). So, can Mindful Conversation help?
Nice to Meet You. Have we Met?
What does it mean to “meet someone”? Can you really meet over Zoom? Is it the same? And do I really know you? Or is there some new category”? As in, “We’ve met, but we haven’t really met.” Do you feel the difference? I do. I have some new, Zoom “friends.” But I’m not exactly sure if I can call them “friends.” We haven’t really met. Well, yes, we have.
Tool vs Intention
Most approaches to better conversation teach tools. We need tools. Tools are good. But, as psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Mindful Conversation has tools too, lots of them, for speaking and for listening. When we are mindful, we go beneath the tool. Beneath the tool lies the Intention.
Intention is the tool belt. Perhaps you’ve been having a hard time talking with your partner. (Because we all do at times.) Consider your intention. What tone do you want to create? If it’s friendly, then can you find a loving place in your heart? If you are coming from a place of judgment and impatience, no matter what words (tools) you use, that tone will poison your talk. Pause before your speak. Consider your intention.
We have to be flexible these days. When we first started zooming around, it felt odd, incomplete, distant to me. But now I’m getting used to it. Learning to set aside my former-world expectations of what it was like to engage with a friend. I’m discovering that I can be miles apart and yet together. I’m becoming bolder in putting myself out there. What’s to lose? If I’m feeling sad that we can’t be together in the same place, I say that I’m feeling sad, and it seems to cut through the sadness and bring us together. Suddenly there’s magic, where there was a barrier. I often feel frustrated with Zoom, but I’m also grateful that we have it. I’ve connected with friends that I might not have, back in the days of that relic, the telephone.
What are you discovering these days?
What are you learning about communication in the era of Zoom? I’d love to hear from you. Successes and challenges.