If I could boil down everything I’ve learned in the last 30 years to have great communication in both your business and personal life, it would be what I’m teaching you today. These 3 things are the reason you’ve tried communication tools before and they haven’t worked. It’s because you’ve got to establish these 3 pillars first, and then you can create connection and understanding in all your relationships.
What I’m bringing you today are the tried and true – the things I end up repeating to every single client I work with, whether that’s coaching an executive to be more effective in their leadership or someone who’s trying to get their partner to understand them. You’ve heard me say these things before in various ways, but I’m bringing them all together here so you can shut out all the doubt and noise and come back to these like your mantra.
The 3 Communication Pillars
Communication Pillar #1: People Hear What You Mean, Not What You Say
Your conscious brain processes information at a rate of 50 bits per second while your subconscious brain processes information at a rate of 11 million bits per second. This means that whomever you’re speaking to doesn’t hear what you say, they hear what you mean. You can say all the right things but if your unconscious believes something else, that’s what the other person is listening to.
The key is to align your conscious and your subconscious before these conversations. You can do that by setting intention and doing calibration work and, because I love you, I’ve also got a great quick journaling exercise for you to align that subconscious thinking with your conscious thinking. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to get it).
Communication Pillar #2: Your RAS is Keeping You Stuck
Your RAS is a filter between your conscious brain and your subconscious. Specifically, it takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. You’re constantly giving your RAS instructions by what you’re thinking about – the problem is that you don’t even realize it.
So, if you’re thinking, “My partner is always judging and criticizing me,” the RAS hears this as the instruction or order: “Look for my partner criticizing me.”
Sure enough, your partner is “always” criticizing, you hear it constantly.
So, if you’re thinking
- “We don’t communicate because he never listens!”
- “I’m going to try, but I know what he’s going to say or I know it’s not going to work.”
- “The only problem at my job is that my boss is an asshole!”
You’re essentially telling that RAS to look for all those things and it will find them…. OFTEN!
And here’s the really scary part (in case I haven’t blown your mind enough): your RAS will also filter out anything that doesn’t match what you’re thinking! So, when your partner is loving, appreciative, thoughtful and kind you won’t see it!
If you want to communicate effectively, you’ve got to deliberately program your RAS by thoughtfully choosing the exact messages you send. Again, the best way to do this is through setting intention and calibration.
Communication Pillar #3: Take 100% Responsibility
Last but not least in our quest for effective communication is that you have to take 100% responsibility for whatever miscommunications or misunderstandings are happening in this relationship. You co-create every single relationship you have. Now let me be clear about what I mean when I say 100% responsibility. I’m not talking about blame or fault. I’m not talking about taking on the other person’s responsibility in the relationship (that’s called codependency and we’re not going there)!
I’m talking about taking full responsibility to keep your side of the street clean – to stop blaming or acting like a victim. I want you to understand that you have full power to create the relationships you want and it boils down to having your boundaries set and keeping to them. Be a leader in all your relationships; be the dominant vibration in the room and set the tone for love and connection.
Resources and Links:
Timothy Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious
Timothy Wilson, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change