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Effective Communication Relies on Relationship

by Richard Norris on November 20, 2014

Relationships 150x150 Effective Communication Relies on Relationship

Effective Communication Relies On Relationship

Today we live in a fast-paced world with multiple means of communication. However, our tools of communication are only as good as the user and the purpose for which they are used. Despite the tools and the means, true communication is next to impossible if we do not focus also on relationship.

Read the Oxford Dictionary and it says that communication is imparting or exchanging information by speaking, writing or using some other medium. It also says that relationship is the way two or more people interact. To be effective, you cannot treat communication and relationship as mutually exclusive. You cannot have one without the other. They are interdependent.

Interaction does not, to me, mean communication nor nor does it mean relationship. Sure you can pass info in 140 characters of text speak (if you understand it), but often there is so much more to the message that is lost. Not in translation, not in transmission but often in meaning. Relationship does not appear to be central in purpose. Communication is meant to be 2-way not a one-way announcement or “share”.

Despite all the new tools for communication, we must remember that simply talking came first. That said, many of us still struggle to get this right.  Ever said something that was taken the wrong way and you were speaking with them then and there? Communication is so much more than just words. Relationships are grown not just on words but on emotions, logic, empathy, experience, knowledge etc.

How well do you communicate?

Whatever your answer know this…we can all do better. Just ask your family, friends and colleagues. Everything we communicate and how we do it will impact our relationships. What impact is your ability to communicate having on your relationships at work, rest and play?

The quality of your communication depends on the quality of your relationship.

I have a growing relationship with my wife and kids. To a lesser extent, the same is happening with friends, colleagues and clients. Why? Because I invest time in communication with them. I invest time listening and questioning to better understand them. As leading entrepreneur and social media influencer Sandi Krakowski says, you must engage with people. In today’s fast-paced digital world that is particularly key. Engagement starts with communication and develops into relationship.

When my kids Dreanna and Jensen are upset, I can only guess why until I speak with them. I do so with a true desire to help. When they are excited, I can only guess why until I clarify the reason or reasons. That means I have to communicate with them. I have to learn what and how they think in order to better communicate with them. I would find it more difficult with a stranger in either case because they don’t know me; we have no relationship.

The more you and I communicate genuinely with the other person’s best interests at heart, the more they realize we care. The more they know we care, the roots of relationship go that much deeper. The more we understand them, the better we can serve them and/or lead them as required.

The quality of your relationship depends on the quality of your communication.

We can communicate loads without saying much, if anything. You don’t need words to know if two people are at odds or of one mind or heart. Communication is a bundle made up of the words we use, our voice and our body language. To be effective all three threads must be congruent. Miss one and your message is perceived as insincere and/or not true. Ever caught your child lying even when they deny it was them? As any perceptive parent, teacher, leader and body language expert knows, the words may say one thing, but the body is telling the true story. Communication is as much about what you are not saying as what you are.

Effective communication and relationships take time.

When it comes to relationships, I’ve heard many parents and leaders say, I don’t have the time. They assert it’s more about quality than quantity. Yet, the truth is, when it comes to relationships, you can only have quality time when you have invested quantity. The more you sow, the more you reap. The better the relationship the better the communication and vice versa.

If you want a relationship focus on your communication; if you want to communicate focus on relationship.

Just the other night Nancy and I made time to discuss family matters. We were talking about our communication and its impact on our relationship with our kids. Nancy had some great insight and feedback for me. Some of what she shared I did not like, but I needed to hear it. Because of our relationship, I knew she spoke with my best interests at heart as well as that of the kids and herself.

Communication is the response you get.

You always know if what you are trying to communicate is received the way you wanted it to be by how the other person responds. Ever sent an email or said something that someone took completely the wrong way? I have. Sometimes you can salvage the situation and sometimes not. If you don’t get the response you were expecting, don’t blame them. I’ve learned it means I must improve what and how I communicated.

Here’s a few other insights I’ve learned when it comes to communicating better. Apply these consistently and your relationships will improve as well.

1. Listen. Listen some more. Listen even more. (…He who has ears to hear let him hear. Matthew 13:9)

2. Listen to learn and understand better the other person.

3. Be present. Put all other things aside. When communicating the other person is the most important. Focus on them.

4. Give it T-I-M-E. Relationships depend on it.

5. Communicate openly and honestly. This helps build trust, a key foundation for a strong relationship.

Every relationship you have pivots on the communication involved. The better you can communicate the better the foundation upon which to develop and grow a relationship be that in the family room the locker room or the boardroom. True communication and relationship functions best heart to heart.

Your Powerplay

Have a heart-to-heart with those who matter most for no other reason that to deepen your relationship.



Isn’t It About Time To Be Quiet?

by Richard Norris on November 17, 2014

Retire Resign Boxing Gloves 300x212 Isnt It About Time To Be Quiet?

Isn’t It About Time To Be Quiet?

The more busy life gets, the more we need to be quiet. Today we live in a noisy world to which many of us have become desensitized. The noise can be deafening and distract us from becoming our best and from who and what matters most. To live and lead better, we need to learn to become quiet.

We live today under a barrage of white noise. Our lives are full of static sights and sounds similar to what we used to get on TV. Around us the world is just a noisy place of music, sounds, ringtones, calls, traffic, messages, posts, tweets and emails. It’s not going to stop. If anything, as life seems to get faster and busier, it’s only going to get worse. Most of this noise puts pressure on us if we let it. Be warned. The decision is yours – succumb to the pressure and drown in the “noise” or learn to tread water if not swim in it.

I am grateful that we live in the country. I am even more grateful I get up pre-dawn and go for a walk. Both of these allow me to bathe first thing in the sounds of nature. Such sounds are always soothing. There are no cars, no rattle, ring and hum of machines and no other people. It’s just me, God and His creation around me. Bliss. Sure it may only be for 10-15 minutes, but it is a great way to begin my day. There is little noise and are no pressures.

How much are you assaulted by the noise, pressure and busyness of your life? 

As I’ve learned, you can either control your environment or it will control you.

On the occasions when I do venture into the Big Smoke, usually via the train, I can be still. I cannot say that about everyone else. The majority on the train appear to be unhappy and pressured. Their look reminds me of sheep crammed onto a transport heading somewhere they don’t want to go. Resigned. Wary. Hassled. Fated. The train is not a quiet place. There is the noise of conversations, papers rustling, phones, laptops, disrespectful people with their mp3 players blaring out of poorly insulated headphones, announcements etc. Yet it can be. I make it so. I find the journey refreshing because I can be still. I go quiet and use the time to think, meditate pray and capture thoughts in my journal.

Top athletes understand the power of being still, of tuning out the world and quietening themselves. We’ve all seen them before the big match, the big play or the big race. When they become quiet, they can concentrate and focus on the task before them. The crowd can be going crazy around them, but they enter that zone of peace that is so pure and potent. Quiet converts to power. They attain the calm before they storm ahead. To attain such mastery of themselves and their environment takes time, effort and discipline. Going quiet is not easy. It’s benefits though are massive.

Much can be learned when all goes quiet. If you cannot be quiet, you cannot hear nor be heard. 

I don’t know about you, but when I find myself in such a place of quiet solitude amongst nature or elsewhere, I discover new sounds that I hadn’t noticed before. I toured Europe in the summer of ’85 and visited many cathedrals. As soon as you entered them, they closed out the sounds outside. They seemed to absorb sound and the will for people to speak other than in very hushed tones. Such spiritual places beg for stillness, reverence and reflection. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I entered those places, I felt like I had found something I had been missing. That something many, if not all, of us are missing – connection. Connection with ourselves and our Creator. Psalm 46:10 supports this – Be still and know that I am God. Our bodies are meant to be temples to where we can retreat and reconnect with ourselves and with God (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Being quiet requires us to slow down if not stop. Being quiet forces us to take our foot off the accelerator and get off the hamster wheel. Being quiet requires will and discipline. Being quiet is not easy, but it is worth it. Quiet time is often best done alone. The benefits are many – some obvious and some less so. It’s good for your sanity. It’s good for your blood pressure. It’s good for your relationships. It’s good for your career. It’s good for your family. It’s good for you.

Everyone can shut up, but not everyone can be quiet. In case this is a challenge for you, here’s a few helpful tips:

  1. Keep your values and top priorities in mind always.
  2. Learn to say “No” more.
  3. Delete or cancel non-essential activities and tasks.
  4. Schedule quiet time in your diary each day – ideally first thing and last thing.
  5. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier (no snooze alarm!). Use that as your quiet time.
  6. Pray and/or write out your issues concerns and burning questions. Get them out of your head and give them to God before you start.
  7. Focus on your blessings and for what you are grateful.
  8. Tune in to your breathing.
  9. Listen.

Too often we are too busy working in our lives to work on our lives.

Just being still is a tonic to your body, mind and soul. When you are not doing anything, you are doing something big. When you are truly quiet you can hear yourself  better. You may just hear that you need to take a break, you are doing better than you think etc. When you are quiet, you are working on your self, your relationships and your life. Only when you are quiet can you truly hear God speaking. When He does speak, it’s always something you need to hear.

Commit to cut out some of the noise from your life to allow you to hear more of what you are supposed to. When you can be still is when you can best learn. Being quiet is the doorway to your best life.

Your Powerplay

Schedule 15 minutes of quiet time at the start and end of your day for the next 3 days. Stop. Be still. Listen. And learn.



It’s Time For A Compliment

November 13, 2014

It’s Time For A Compliment Compliments seem in shorter supply today in our fast-paced world. Today it seems we are often in such a rush that we fail to even slow down to give attention to something good in and/or about someone. Or even if we do, we fail to tell them so.  A genuine […]

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