The foundation for effective communication – Integrally Alive Podcast

Have you ever found yourself frustrated in a conversation, because it didn’t go as planned, or as it was “supposed” to? Probably the most important thing for having an effective communication was missing…

Can we let the intention structure the interaction, instead of letting our agenda limit it?

Last week I went to a dancing evening. (I know, how surprising of me, right? 😉 )
The facilitator was talking lots, like they sometimes do in the beginning, to get people moving. Half an hour in, he was still talking, and people were dancing.

And he stopped the music. And he had us make a circle, and started to talk about why he was doing this, and what this event was about… Which felt so off to me, as we were already doing it; a bit late to say: “Hey, this is what we are going to do.” Looking around me, I could see eyes rolling, people slowly become more and more still, and I could feel the atmosphere of the room changing.

He finally started the music again, we went on dancing, and he continued to give a lot of cues towards what he wanted to see happening… but still disconnected from what was happening in the room.
He wasn’t listening to what was there, and responding to that; he had an agenda and was going to make THAT happen, no matter what; Like if we were there FOR HIM, instead of him facilitating the experience FOR US.

And maybe you’re thinking:”Claire, you’re sweet and it’s great you love dance so much, but I’m not a dance facilitator, so…” I get it, but the above applies to every conversation, and every interaction, we have.

We often engage into a conversation with an agenda? With an idea of the outcome we would like from the interaction: that person could become a friend, my romantic partner, a client, a work partner…

What if we shifted to having an agenda, to setting an intention?

Can we let the intention structure the interaction, instead of letting our agenda limit it?

And maybe you’re a freelance, a coach (totally random example), or any other situation where you need to have “enrollment conversation”. So you need to have an agenda, right? What is the worst case scenario? (To me that would always be that I didn’t connected to that person on a human to human level)
Let’s say it is that this person wouldn’t become a client after this conversation; it would be a fail, right?
Well, no matter what happened, s/he would respect you for not forcing anything on her/him. And maybe that person would: recommend you to someone else; become your client later; experience a shift, and not need to be your client anymore, and become one of your biggest fans…

We never know what is going to come up from a conversation.

Setting an intention instead of having an agenda lets room for whatever needs to happen, to actually happen. Of course, it only applies to you if you believe that forcing things on people never work (at least in the long-term), and can trust into building the relationship instead.

Can we have more than one intention for the interaction?

And while we are at it, let’s have more than one intention for the interaction! Mine usually are

  • connect to that person, human to human (versus coach to client or whatever the case)
  • make him/her come (even) more alive
  • empower her/him in regards to whatever they struggle with

And another might be, if the way the conversation goes makes it relevant: offer to work with me.

Why have more than one? First, it is possible because intention is flexible, versus a fixed agenda. Each intention reinforce the others.
And even if I don’t feel like every intention is fulfilled, at least one is. So I am still happy with the interaction.

The secret mindset: being a student of people

OK it is not super secret anymore. It is my favorite mindset to have when I’m meeting people: being curious and genuinely interested about them.

It becomes just impossible NOT to listen to them. Does that resonate with you? Is it something you are doing? How does it make your interactions better? If not, how can you try it the next time you are talking to someone? What intentions can you set, so that no matter what happens, you will be happy with the interaction?

Try it; listen, without agenda. Listen, with your full presence; and look at their face brightening up.
For some, it will be the first time someone truly listens to them.

And that, my friends, is one of the most beautiful gift you can make to another human being.

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Stay tuned for the next episode, à bientôt. 😉

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