Improve your Communication Skills through Mindfulness.
Updated: May 28, 2020
In this article, I help you navigate the optimal path forward to express yourself in a clear and confident manner. You’ll learn the exponential benefits of practicing Mindfulness in order to Communicate more Effectively.
Let’s dive in!
What if I told you that the secret to enhancing communication could be obtained by employing one simple ability into your current process?
Yes, one extraordinary capability that is often overshadowed by our cognitive skills or squeezed out of the equation due to time constraints.
You see, we often think that we don’t have enough time to do anything other than the task at hand. So we keep going, despite feeling stressed or depleted. AKA Autopilot.
In reality it's actually in those moments of chaos and extreme pressure that we need to harness this mighty ability the most!
The Secret to Successful Communication— Uncover and Utilize your AWARENESS.
In all ways.
We must be able to connect with our emotional intelligence in order to bridge the gap between process, analytics, and strategy.
This innate ability is continuously accessible, yet we often overlook that we have this
Yes, this one ‘mindful practice’ is indeed very powerful— it’s the springboard for increasing confidence and achieving goals!
To elevate success even further, I recommend practicing all 3 Mindfulness pillars (listed below) in confluence. When we're able to master all of these skills, we're organically paving the way to peak communication.
The 3 Pillars of Mindfulness:
Be Aware. Tap into your self-awareness in order to change your mindset and perspective. Then, practice awareness of your surroundings and others in order to make better connections.
Be Present. It’s important to take each interaction as a new experience. Try not to base any communication on past relations or project into the future. Stay in the moment.
Be non-judgmental. Please be kind to yourself and others. Try not to emulate your own personal feelings or emotions onto another person. Allow others to share their perspective.
When we are in accordance with all of the above, we are communicating in an authentic capacity. And, when we are able to be authentic we're able to connect with our true intention and purpose (goal).
We’re able to stop and zoom out.
To challenge ourselves.
To think before we speak.
To observe our behaviors.
Establishing these new habits will allow you to take the time needed to respond mindfully instead of ‘reacting’ in the moment. This mindful process is essential for 360°growth at work and at home.
The goal—communicate effectively and create a positive impact.
In business, we are asked to share our expertise, best practices, processes, and everything in between.
It’s our job, right?
We must be able to confidently and concisely communicate.
Whether it’s on a conference call with our team, having a one-on-one conversation, or interacting with cross-functional colleagues.
But, what happens when we are out of balance?
Have you ever received feedback that you are coming off as ‘cocky’ or maybe ‘passive aggressive’?
Or perhaps you’ve been asked to ‘speak up’ more?
When we are practicing mindfulness, (no matter the situation) we can harness our Awareness to Flip the Switch!
Being able to identify your communication style is the first step to improving outcomes. It’s important to realize that we can have multiple styles pending the situation.
The key is to be aware of our approach and behavior in any setting so that we can flex as needed.
It’s imperative to increase our awareness in order to adjust our communication style accordingly.
Let’s take a look at the 4 Basic Communication Styles:
PASSIVE: If you’re passive, you find it difficult to express your feelings and needs.
AGGRESSIVE: If you’re aggressive, you tend to put your own interests ahead of others.
PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE: If you’re passive aggressive you’re resistant to requests and respond indirectly aggressive rather than directly aggressive.
ASSERTIVE: If you’re assertive, you know how to advocate for yourself while respecting those around you.
The Optimal Communication Style is to be Assertive.
Being “assertive” is tethered to your authentic self.
Communicating this way will make you happier, less stressed, and more successful.
Lead with Kindness!
We must be able to align assertiveness with empathy.
It’s important to know that we can absolutely be an assertive person and show empathy at the same time.
When you can advocate your beliefs without violating the beliefs of others, you’re more likely to reach your goals and thrive as a leader.
Assertive Thinking through a Mindful Lens:
Check your ego: Aggression makes it difficult to see beyond your own desires. Work towards the common good rather than thinking exclusively about your own interests.
Focus on solutions: By looking at the big picture, you can create more opportunities to build rapport and utilize team collaboration to achieve positive outcomes.
Take responsibility: Don’t project your fears or negative reactions onto someone else. Remember that you are accountable for your decisions. Review your options and prepare to take decisive action.
Consider consequences: Acting on impulse can be hazardous to your well-being as well as those around you. Slow down and think through how your actions are likely to affect not only your future but those who rely on you.
Develop compassion: Empathizing with others helps to keep assertiveness from turning into aggression. Imagine how you feel when someone you care about is struggling, and then try to extend that concern to a wider circle.
Assertive Mindful Behavior:
Be tactful and direct: Don’t use too much force. You can still pursue what you want through collaboration rather than domination.
Ask for input: Build trust by letting others know that you care about their perspectives. Welcome constructive feedback.
Listen closely: Practice your ‘active listening’ skills by being attentive and resisting the urge to interrupt. Be open to viewpoints that are different from yours.
Be aware of your body language: Eye contact is extremely important. Face others when you’re talking without staring or invading their space. Stand up straight and relax your face. Try to mirror the other person's body language to make an unspoken connection.
Cultivate connections: Assertiveness comes more naturally when you feel like you can empathize with the other person. Make that connection. Look for the positive qualities in others. Try to be helpful and generous. Seek to learn from others no matter your position/role.
Stay calm: You’ll appear more assertive if you have a peaceful demeanor. Start a daily meditation practice. Pause and take a few deep breaths when you’re dealing with stressful events.
Address issues promptly: Resolve conflicts before they grow bigger. For example, ask your colleague in a clear and direct way if there is something bothering them. By addressing the elephant in the room, you can work towards a resolution.
Rehearse your part: If assertiveness is relatively new for you, it’s natural that you may revert to your old habits, especially under stress. Visualize yourself responding differently or role play with a colleague who wants to support you in making positive changes.
Start small: Similarly, you can hone your skills in settings where you have less at stake before you move on to bigger challenges. Practice asking a close friend to be more punctual before tackling a work challenge involving another person.
Seek coaching: Receive additional techniques on how to adopt, implement, and sustain mindful communication in any situation. Practice 1:1 with Nina Antinora, CPC or one of our Change It Up® certified coaches. Sessions available in person (San Diego) or virtually.
When you value yourself and others, you encourage assertiveness rather than aggression.
This allows for exponential growth by creating a safe space for sharing new ideas and perspectives.
When we are mindful of our thoughts and emotions and are able to regulate as needed, we naturally increase our confidence.
This is the type of confidence that radiates from within, as it's rooted in authenticity and aligned with our greater good both professionally and personally.
For more info on how to Improve your Communication Skills through Mindfulness, click here.