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QUOTE: “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
~ Mark Twain
CATEGORIZING Communication (Comm) cont.
7. Re. WAYS to ENGAGE in comm
Level 1: Messages into the Ether
Snail mail, email & texting have some things in common. They’re sent out, & a response can sometimes take days or weeks. Since they’re not conversational (back & forth) there can be a high level of misunderstanding, possibly leading to hurt feelings, even fights.
Level 2: Back & forth Messaging
It’s conversational, but still done remotely (IM, text….). Such exchanges are more casual & direct, so confusion is less likely, since one or both can catch distortions or misses with each reply.
However, its bite-size style means it’s not well-suited to discussing complex issues.
Level 3: A Verbal Dialogue
Here participants get to express their opinions directly, plus adding a whole layer of implied info via Para-language. These can hint at excitement, pleasure, peacefulness OR annoyance, frustration, stress…. that are harder to detect in writing. A drawback is that they often require scheduling, but sometimes things need to be cleared up quickly via phone.
Level 4: In-Person Spontaneous Discussion
When something important comes up unexpectedly, we might decide to seek out the others person for a conversation. Spontaneous discussions can be effective for problem-solving, getting an immediate need met or making a plan. Benefits come from adding a new level of mutual understanding & co-operation. But it doesn’t always work – discomfort with spontaneity, lack of privacy, the other person being too busy or not in the mood…. can get in the way.
Level 5: In-Person Scheduled Discussion
What makes this level special is the mutual agreement to set aside time. Planning does not have to make the meeting Formal, but gives both parties time to think about the topic. Successful & dynamic interactions come from combining self-awareness, non-verbal intelligence & privacy, to ensure comfort & trust. (From Scott Belsky)
VALUE: Observing admired leaders, we can see that good comm. judgment is very important to their success.
For example, knowing what can be done at Level 2, versus what must be done Level 5 – & doing it – is a sign of sound leadership instinct, as well as knowing what to expect in personal relationships.
8. Re. PMES Categories
SOCIAL: Talking about anything of mutual interest – news, sports, weather…. It’s superficial but truly useful, allowing us to function among strangers without burdening them with TMI about our life. It also helps determine whether someone is neutral, a potential friend or enemy
MENTAL: Talking about facts, helpful tips, ideas, non-controversial beliefs, plans & strategies, as in professional conversations. Unfortunately, some people go out of their way to be the ‘best’ at it, so that no one is smarter, wittier or more knowledgeable, & they never have to be wrong.
The distance between the first two levels is relatively short. Polite conversation can turn into a mentally stimulating one very quickly & then collapse back into small talk or none at all – without discomfort. Except for conversations with a controlling know-it-all, these two levels are safe.
EMOTIONAL: Here talk is about aspirations, fears, wants, needs & joys. Sometimes eyes well up, lips quiver, & the voice chokes. Other times those same eyes light up, heart pounds & words flow with joy, or fail from awe.
• The distance between #1 & 2 AND #3 is rather wide, because #3 requires intimacy, transparency, trust & vulnerability. Most of us are afraid of being wrong or looking foolish, & absolutely terrified of rejection.
Participating at this level opens us to possible rejection, hurt & being scarred. Over-all, this level is easier for women to navigate, partly expressing emotions is more socially acceptable, & because a portion of women’s Corpus Callosum is thicker than men’s, perhaps allowing more access across the hemispheres emotions to be verbalized (MORE….)
SPIRITUAL. This is the hardest to identify & describe, not only because our culture is so secular, but because few people are willing to drop down into the level of faith – for themselves – much less to speak of it to others.
It melts away push-pull, give-take win-lose, me-you. There are no distortions from emotional mental or social games, allowing for the highest level of resonance, creating an energetic embrace that sustains & heals.
‼️ Understanding all these forms of comm allows us to identify & then choose which is most appropriate for any given situation.
It can be too easy to go down the path of least resistance, but that can get us into trouble, so it’s important to be more thoughtful about how & when we communicate.
It’s better to do it the right way – focusing on our goals & using whichever level will help us get there.
NEXT: Comm. Levels #3