Do you see people?

I think I am on safe grounds when I say that we all like to be listened to, given space, taken seriously, that people laugh of our jokes, that people see what we represent, that we feel “seen” as individuals. However, in the work place and in our private lives this is actually quite a challenge. Very often we DON’T feel respected, seen and heard.

I have noticed that there are lots of books and trainings out there on communication or rather how to better communicate. There are a range of books in the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) school of thought, there are a zillion books with titles like “How to improve your communication skills”, and then you have related “niche books” like “The Art of Reading Thoughts”. Additionally, we have the cross-cultural communication skills, which is my own field.

If you know a bit about different linguistic communication styles, you may have noticed that depending on people’s linguistic culture they may overlap when you talk or they may pause to wait for you to speak. Funny things happen when people from a “wait culture” meet the “overlap culture”.. The word “rude” comes to mind.. Yet, they are not, they are just following their own linguistic style.

Then we have the indirect communication styles versus the direct communication styles, which may vary even within the same country. The direct person finds the indirect person difficult to understand (never being clear) and the indirect person feels the direct person is being blunt (“can you tune it down, please?). The communication style becomes a blocker; they cannot see each other (the intent) because the words get in the way.

Coming back to the books, I see a commonality through it all, which is to learn to observe, keep an open mind and try to meet people where they are at. I find it fascinating that there is so much material on how to read people, and when you break it down to the core all we basically need to do is to slow down, give space and LISTEN. That will make people feel seen. So easy, and so difficult.

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Reader's Comments »

  1. By Claudia on mai 31, 2011 at 11:20

    This blog is among my preferred ones. It is always insightful, looking for the deeper meaning, taking the second look we too often feel we do not have the time to take. Sunniva’s blog also allows me to slow down; it is written in a way that gives me space to breathe. Wonderful.