20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

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20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

There are some people who Yes, and some who Yes And. When we share something about ourselves with others, some people respond just by saying, “Cool”, or “Great”, or “That’s interesting.” They offer some form of acknowledgement. That’s the Yes of Yes And. And then there are those who offer an acknowledgment, AND then ask a question that further explores what we shared. They say, for instance, “Wow, that’s fascinating (Yes). What was that like for you? (And)” We love it when people show genuine interest in us. Whether it is simply a check in to see how our doctor’s appointment went, or a series of questions, it feels good when people are genuinely interested in us. It feels like the person cares about us and our […]

Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

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Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

When I teach listening skills, my participants struggle with simply being still and present when someone else is sharing something personal with them. It is not enough, in their mind, just to be with them. They must at least nod, or verbally acknowledge the other person in some way, and make them feel that they are being attended to. We must do in conversation, not just be in conversation! This need stems from a deep and old belief that who we are being is not enough. Our presence, and the gift of our spirit, is simply not enough! When we realize how powerful we are, we don’t doubt the gift of our presence. By resting more fully into our deeper Self, we can rest more fully in the conversation. Spaciousness is created […]

Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

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Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis  A friend of mine recently told me how he doesn’t create strong enough boundaries. People take advantage of him and disregard his needs. After listening to him for a while, I realized that the problem wasn’t so much about boundaries, but rather speaking his truth. When I mentioned this to him, a light bulb went off. When I think about setting […]

Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

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Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

Beware! Saying “You” in conversations can be dangerous! We all know what it is like when someone says to us, “You need to…”, or “Why are you always…?” It immediately puts us on the defensive. Speaking on behalf of ourselves is effective. Saying I, Me, My, and Mine helps people stay open to what we are saying. But so does speaking on behalf of the relationship. Recently I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling confused. Instead of saying, “You confused me,” I said, “Our conversation confused me.” By using the word “Our” I point to the relationship. I, of course, could also have said, “I feel confused,” and that would have been fine as well. Other examples of speaking on behalf of […]

Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

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Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ~ Ornette Coleman Two things that block our self-expression and creativity is the fear of judgement, and the weight of expectations to do things the “right” way. We hold back in team meetings and other kinds of relationships, fearful that we will receive a disparaging response. A guiding principle for communication that can help mitigate negativity and fear, and create safety for creative self-expression is Nobody Gets to Be Wrong. Imagine conducting all future meetings and general dialogue with this principle in place. What would the implications be? All ideas are welcome Freedom to playfully experiment and get messy Less thinking and more spontaneity More ideas shared […]

I wonder…

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I wonder…

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” ~Gerry Spence It is very easy to share our opinion with attachment, or even righteousness. We believe our perspective is the truth, and we deliver it as such. However, it is a real skill to share a point of view while still remaining open to others. We can do this by changing the tone of our voice to be warm or light. We can also use the child’s language of I wonder. “Wisdom is in not knowing.” ~ Deepak Chopra To be in wonder means to be open. It is an attitude of curiosity whereby we state our interest, and at the same time are open to not knowing the answer […]

4 Keys to Conscious Communication

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4 Keys to Conscious Communication

Even though we communicate all the time, for most of us, we have never received any training or education on how to communicate. We fumble our way through many messy conversations and relationships without the skills gleaned from being a student of conscious communication. Being a student begins with knowing that we communicate not only with our words, but also with our movement and energy. A slight shift in our body language can convey a new message. And our energy, how we are being, can create subtle ripples of influence that are intuitively received by others, and that impact the tone of our words. We become conscious communicators when we are aware of our words, body language and energy in every interaction. Aware means being […]

The Feelings Behind Your Need

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The Feelings Behind Your Need

A complaint is an unspoken request. We share our needs with others and hope they are met. We may ask someone to help clean the house or complete the project on time. When we ask multiple times and the need is still not met it is natural to complain and feel powerless – asking again for the fourth time isn’t changing anything and yet saying nothing isn’t helping either. What is not being said that needs to be heard? Level 1 ~ Initial Request: When you express a need for first time, not only share what you want done, but say how having it done would make you feel and why it is important to you. “Sharing household duties makes me feel we have an equal […]

Whose Need is Stronger?

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Whose Need is Stronger?

What happens when two needs collide? Recently a friend was quite vulnerable in sharing a concern he had about a group we both belong to. While he shared I noticed that I began to be concerned he would leave the group. Instead of waiting for him to finish, I said in the midst of his vulnerability that I hope he doesn’t leave. He then quite rightly and calmly said, “Vince, just let me have a human moment here.” I made my need more of a priority than his. Every need differs in content and energetic make-up. When communicating it is important to sense whose need is stronger in any given moment – whose need deserves the right of way first – and to give way […]

The Language of Play ~ Empowering Words for a Creative World

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The Language of Play ~ Empowering Words for a Creative World

“As more humans awaken, the word work is going to disappear from our vocabulary, and perhaps a new word will be created to replace it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, from The Power of Now. Imagine you are having a team meeting to introduce a new project. Your team leader is in charge of instigating the project, and of course, she wants it to be successful. You and your team are sitting, listening, waiting for instructions on how to proceed. Now imagine the first words that come out of her mouth are, “I want you to work on this project.” Her energy is serious, focused and professional. What would be your initial feeling response? What expectations or images would run through your mind? How would her words […]