What does it mean to be intentional? My first book was called the Enlightened Communicator; it was all about raising your awareness so that you can become a better communicator.
I have now moved toward “Intentional Communication” because awareness alone does not cut it. You also need to put some action into it. You need to be Intentional.
Being Intentional means to do something with a purpose or deliberately. Your actions have a purpose. It is important to be aware of what is going on around you, you will have noticed the number of articles and prompts about being mindful. Awareness and acceptance. Very powerful.
However, I am asking you to take it a step further, not only to be aware, to accept but to do more. I want you to stop and think about what you need to do to take your communication in the direction you want it to shift into. For example, in your relationship with your child, do you need to encourage them? Correct them? Scold them? Be gentle with them?
In a relationship with a key work colleague do you need to thank them? Correct them? Advise them? Give them feedback? Again each of these actions will come with a different intention.
For many years I have noted the effect of communication done badly after some type of painful incident. Something goes wrong, there is an effect and communication seems to slide ineffectively right down the hill.
For example, imagine you’ve woken up and feel like it’s not your best day. Let’s say you’re having a bad hair day. To say you feel lacking in confidence is putting it lightly. When you get into work, a colleague makes a sly comment and you take it completely out of context and get offended. They arc up and defend themselves; after all they were just having fun.
Next time you see him you avoid him all together, he then assumes that you really dislike him and he gets even more defensive and hurt. Before you know it you are both now lurking into the murky depths of toxic unhelpful communication.
Over the years I have delved into the depths of this toxic communication and helped people to sort it out. Why? Because I’ve been there; personally and professionally. It’s not a nice place to be. To get out of this awful place you need to get Intentional.
There are steps to Intentional Communication. I will outline them here but expand on them in coming posts. The steps are;
- There is an impact or crisis moment
- There is a wound or pain after impact
- We look to treat the current wound
- The wound begins to heal
- A scar forms
- The final stage we aim for is a strengthening after the process
This process can be linear but also can be shortened depending on how treatment and healing is approached. Some times you go for the quick fix that doesn’t really work and this means that the process is invariably lengthened and complicated.
Next time we will discuss the first stage in detail – the impact.
Until next time Care, Connect and be and Intentional Communicator
Let’s improve the world one intentional conversation at a time