We’ve all heard it hundreds of times. To date, it ranks as one of my most requested speaking topics—for professional and inspirational groups. Women and men are hungry for more of the same thing.
- What’s the most important requirement and biggest missing element for those wanting to tend a great marriage?
- When speaking to both the leadership and the front line people, I’m told organizations who want to tend success are weakest at, and need to focus on, this area.
- Parents speaking about their children and children speaking about their parents bring up the same thing.
- Professionals at the top and professionals climbing the ladder mention similar pet peeves.
And all are speaking about the exact same issue: a need to improve communication. Want to solve the world’s problems? In a nutshell, this covers most of it. Clear and effective communication is truly the answer to many of our conflicts, issues, and confusions.
But sadly, I think we hear the word communication brought up so much, we treat it as if it were some worn out cliche. In fact, it is one of the great secrets to living a happier, healthier, and more peace-filled life—at home and and at work.
As a business, marriage, and life coach, I spend more of my time and energy on communication in some form than I do anything else. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about effective communication—about what works and what does not.
Currently, I’m doing some business coaching that involves family members in top leadership positions. And as I facilitate meetings designed to help them work through unresolved issues, buried resentments and anger, confusion, along with other emotional hot buttons, I continually remind them of the power of clear communication. Words (or lack of them) have the power to harm or to heal, to draw or repel, to bring profit or destruction, depending on how we wield them.
There are seven specific secrets that are most often overlooked, and if missed, create the greatest invisible drains, when it comes to undermining our dreams. So let’s unpack them today.
7 Secrets to Effective Communication for Dream Tenders:
- Do not dominate or monopolize conversations. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I love Proverbs 10:19. In the Message version it says, “The more talk the less truth; the wise measure their words.” Successful dream tending requires that you sharpen your listening skills.
- Do not interrupt. Let other people finish their thoughts and sentences! And especially don’t cut someone off to tell them what they think or believe. Stop attempting to mind read. Who are you to believe you can tell someone what they are thinking more than what they know themselves? Assuming or projecting your opinions onto other people is a dangerous disruption to any dream tending relationship, professional or personal. There may be more or less to the situation than what you presume. Interrupting and cutting people off when they are talking will not only destroy those relationships—you WILL destroy your dreams with this kind of behavior.
- Resolve to keep your tone calm, honest, and respectful. Right-fighting only makes you look more wrong. Stripping someone else of their dignity shows others you are a jerk. Raising your voice and throwing your weight around because you can, will not get the results you want. Making patronizing, cutting, or subliminal digs turns people off. And all of these behaviors will make people leave you and your dreams in the dust.
- Clarify what you thought you heard when responding. Repeat what you thought the speaker said by using statements like these: “If I understood what you meant, you said, ‘_______________________.” “If I heard you right, you said, ‘__________________________.”
- Keep communication professional at all times. You might believe you’ve become close with a professional tie, but don’t kid yourself into getting so comfortable you make a mistake that could cost you your dreams.
- Don’t make inappropriate jokes.
- Do not gossip or bad mouth others.
- Don’t use profanity, even if the other person does. It’s a subconscious trigger signaling that you cannot control yourself and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- And do not call others by pet names—especially if they are older than you or hold a higher position. There’s nothing more sickening than being called hun, babe, or sweetie by a person who doesn’t have the experience, credibility, or relationship to speak to you as if you are a younger family member.
- Communicate!!! Answer your prospects, clients, customers, vendors, colleagues, or anyone else who is or might be affiliated with your ability to tend your dreams. Silence is far from golden if they have reached out to you and you do not respond. In fact, this kind of silence will lead you to bankruptcy or at least to the abrupt end to your dreams.
- Keep your word when you say you will do something. On time—every time. Part of professional communication is being believable when you say something. It won’t take too many let-downs for people to stop giving you a chance, bringing your dreams crashing down with that broken trust.
- What kind of listener are you—honestly? Do you fight to be heard or do you give others a voice?
- Do you communicate clear expectations early and often, to reduce unnecessary confusion and conflict?
- Do you talk at people or to them?
What are the three weakest areas of communication for you right now that you could focus on improving?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Take a cue from Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Seek first to understand—then to be understood.
- Be open to ideas, solutions, collaborations, feedback, and even critiques others communicate.
- Become intentional to put yourself in the path of at least one person who is willing to disagree with you. Unpopular counsel can be a great stretching tool. One mistake many dream tenders make is surrounding themselves with those who tell them what their itching ears want to hear. But wise counsel, even if painful to hear, leads to profit and success.
- Audit your communication skills on a regular basis—both as a speaker and as a listener. Are you clear, concise, and effective? Are your ears, mind, and heart open?
- When you speak, is what you’re saying relevant to the current topic, situation, or issue? Are your words appropriate for the current conversation?
- Do you show authentic interest in what others have to say? Are you engaged, intentionally focusing on what they are telling you?
- Work on catching any habits you might have to make assumptions, pre-determined opinions, and projections. Then change them. Develop yourself as someone who fully hears what other people have to say, and watch your dream tending efforts expand.
I also have some special eBook pricing for you. Type in the code TYDeb50 to get your copy of 4×4 Habit Overhaul, or One Minute Intervals™: Sixty Seconds to a Healthier, Foodier You, or Depression Busters, at over half off the normal price. Purchase a book bundle using the same code, and save even more.
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You can also get autographed copies of any of my books from my website.
Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers-Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.