February 24, 2018

Archives for March 2016

Giving the same as we have received

Group in discussionSome collaborative endeavours depend rather exactly on us giving in equal measure to what we have received. Yet, it’s easy to forget this.

In one example…

Participants in a workshop gain from the patience and support of other attendees while they are the focus of the group and, of course, the workshop leader. In that moment, the leader of the group will likely have a commitment to ensuring that that individual learns what they need to learn—or at least they should have.

Once our turn is over, it’s too easy to forget that we gained from the attention and support of the others present when we were the focus. And to forget that we owe that same attention to those who have waited patiently for their turn.

Instead the emails beckon.

I notice this as a workshop leader… It’s a strong group that has as much commitment to every single person’s outcome as I do; it’s a strong group that realises they will get the most out of the session if they have the same commitment to others’ learning as they do to their own.

The most beneficial outcome often depends on us giving the same as we have received. Even when our turn is already past.

What are you silently communicating?

People on conversation around a computerProbably more than you realise—and maybe not the message you’d like to be heard.

There’s nothing new about this, of course: We’ve been aware of non-verbal communication for a long time.

But we’re inclined to forget just how a potent a medium it is—and generally one that doesn’t lie. (As John Grinder said, “Treat all conversation as unsubstantiated rumour unless backed up by congruent non-verbal behaviour.”)

So it’s very difficult to fake non-verbal communication: To communicate interest non-verbally when actually you’re bored, for example.

In fact, really the only way to communicate interest is to be interested—if not in the actual content, then perhaps how the person manages to be so consistently boring, if that’s what they are, or some other aspect of what’s going on.

And the only way to communicate support is to be supportive, even if you’re not in actual agreement.

In other words, you need to manage your internal state if you want to control your external signals.

Or, you could find a way to verbalise appropriately what you’re actually feeling, even if it is a difficult message. That’s quite possibly what’s being understood anyway. At least then you’d be regarded as authentic and real. And that might have benefits.


Worth reviewing your silent communication—and indeed that which you “hear” from others. You might notice how loud some of the signals are.