To Collaborate – Elaborate!

Have you noticed that you’re starting to communicate less in sentences and more in emoji’s? 

I’ve caught myself a number of times recently, in a face to face conversation, giving the speaker a ‘thumbs up’ rather than actually responding in words.  Insert worried face emoji!

Now when things are going well in your relationship, or in your team at work, or even on your school’s P & F committee – when you’re all on the same page and in agreement of the direction you’re heading – this may be all that’s needed.

When you need to talk rather than walk

However, if there’s a point of contention or a difference of opinion – this is where we need to heed our parent’s advice to “use your words”.   One actually wonders whether those parents would use their words in a similar situation or would they resort to toddler tactics.   In this situation, many would choose to:

  • Clam up and give in, because you hate conflict
  • Use short and finite statements to try to shut the other person down and bring the subject to a close.  NOTE:  if the other person is also employing this tactic, you may officially consider yourself in an argument.
  • Storm or Flounce off (I love a good flounce myself)

While these may be the instinctive responses in the moment, they’re not great long term solutions for your team and may result in unwillingness to contribute again for fear of conflict, simmering resentment between members of the team that affects the health of the whole or it may even effect the mental health of those members involved.

Less is definitely not more

So what’s the solution?    Patience and practice is a great option.   One of my favourite quotes floating around cyberspace is attributed to the US Navy Seals “Under pressure, we don’t rise to the occasion, we sink to the level of our training. That’s why we train hard”.  

Based on that ethos, the solution would be to train yourself to respond in full and well-considered sentences a little more often – so when the chips are down and the heat is on, you can respond in a positive and constructive way.  

Susan M. Heathfield offers some very useful advice in her article “How to Disagree Effectively”.

The angst of possible disagreement and the angst of public speaking are similar – in that the lengths that we will go to to avoid them is remarkable (even at the expense of our career and personal goals)!  

But if you can stare both of these uncomfortable feelings in the face, you’ll be amazed how quickly the anxiety disappears.   If you’re not sure, you could always come along to one of my workshops and find out …I’ll just leave this link here. *smiley face emoji*

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