Submitted by Nicky K. Smith, LMHC, Employee Assistance Program Therapist, Franciscan Alliance – Northwest Indiana
We live and work in the world of technology where communication devices are at our finger tips at all times! Texting, instant messaging, e-mails and conference calls all save time, but why do we still feel rushed? It seems that we move on to the next thing without taking any
time to reflect on how we communicated our attention, acceptance and appreciation to others.
Positive communication is not rushed. It focuses on meeting the need, listening with intention, being patient and open-minded when others are expressing their ideas and opinions. It is about staying in the moment and pausing to reflect on the entire situation before responding.
Too often we assume that whatever we attempted to communicate was received just the way we sent it. No matter how obvious, it never hurts to clarify, repeat, and follow-up. Communication is less complicated when we are open and honest about what we can and cannot do for others. When responding to others, make sure that your tone is positive and optimistic.
Giving positive feedback does not mean that we constantly lavish people with praise. It means being genuine, and specific. Instead of saying, “You are so good at doing this,” say, “You made a real connection by remembering to ask about family – that helped build trust.”
Strive to paint positive verbal pictures with your words, sentences and directives. “Thank you for holding.” becomes “Thank you for your patience.”- “Is this a bad time?” becomes “Is this a good time?”
Mother Theresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless.” Examine how you communicate and keep looking for ways to reinforce attention, acceptance and appreciation.