I just finished working with a great group of financial planners and they were emphasizing the importance of presence and engagement in their conversations with their clients. Having my own issues with an occasional wandering mind, I started reflecting on what it really takes to be fully present and engaged in a conversation. Even further, how does our current preponderance of emails, IM, and social networking influence the art of conversation?
Recently one of my clients, a CFO for a Fortune 100 company, was sharing that after working with Tignum he has become a better listener, especially on email. Listening on email? This is an interesting thought. He shared that with the right Mindset (not being reactive, not being short sighted, being patient and trusting) you can actually hear the meaning behind an email and therefore not have to jump right into every discussion (especially group discussions). He shared that doing this has not only saved him time but also improved those around him.
In our pre-internet days, a conversation was something that required two (or more) people actually talking. This meant there was a dialogue (verses a monologue) and each person had to give and receive information. They also had to interpret and find intention from the information based on the words, the tone, and non-verbal cues. Today this is more true than ever but it’s certainly more challenging as the conversation becomes more technical and less artful, more online and less in person, more delivering and less receiving.
Does this mean the Art of Conversation has been lost? I don’t think so, but I do think if you want to be a high performing communicator you need a different Mindset and a new level of preparation. In a world of multi-tasking, frequent interruptions, and a plethora of communication mediums, you can’t leave the conversation to chance. If you’re sleep deprived, if you’re brain is foggy, if you’re distracted or over stretched, chances are you aren’t successfully communicating (regardless of whether you’re the sender or receiver).
To be a Swimmer you must master the Art of Communication. In order to do this, I recommend you ensure your brain is fed properly, your autonomic nervous system is balanced, your right and left brain are communicating, your intentions are set, and you are fully present - even if you’re just bouncing back a response to the SMS you just received.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer