There is a long-standing saying that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. This is one of the tenets of conscious communication. Specifically, when you communicate in a conscious way, you are able to get your ideas across more effectively and persuasively. Ideally, mastering conscious communication enables you to shape your message and delivery to elicit the best response of others. For example, conscious communication can metaphorically disarm your appointment. In addition, conscious communication can enable your words to hold more “gravitas” given your counterpart is more receptive to your message. Clearly, in a field like consulting where you are consistently talking with senior executives who may be defensive (or even not open to having a consultant on the ground!), conscious communication is critical.
This article will share the definition of conscious communication, examples of conscious communication, and the benefits of conscious communication.
Conscious Communication Definition
You may be thinking to yourself “what is the definition of conscious communication?” Well, conscious communication can take many forms:
- Be emotionally intelligent and understand how your verbal and non-verbal communication impacts others.
- Be an active listener and moderate your approach based on the reaction to your delivery.
- Ensure your language is respectful and neutral (not emotionally charged).
The main idea is that someone who is consciously communicating can understand the second-level impact of their verbal and non-verbal communication (e.g., how their communication impacts how others think and feel). Yet not only that, but also can change their communication strategy to get the desired outcome out of their “audience.”
Conscious Communication Examples
Examples of conscious communication include:
- Being self-aware that you talk quickly, especially in uncomfortable situations, and make an effort to slow down.
- Example: Take pauses between major points of your argument; engage the audience as a means to slow down.
- Making eye contact with your colleague rather than looking at the floor when delivering.
- Uncomfortable information
- Example: Positioning your computer so you can look at colleagues in their eyes via Zoom; make sure to always address the room while talking.
- Using “I” language rather than “you” language when confronting an argument.
- Example: If someone you were working with did not finish their deliverables, frame the situation as “I am concerned about the ability of the team to finish our project on time. Typically, I try to leave three weeks to complete the engagement once the interim analysis is done. However, I realize this may not be possible. Let’s brainstorm ways to get back on track.” This framing is more neutral and compassionate than saying “You finished your deliverable late, which is putting the project off track.”
- Using factual rather than emotionally charged language in an argument or disagreement.
- Example: If a client is delayed in providing you an important piece of data, frame the situation as “the data was supposed to be ready last Thursday. However, we have still not received the data. This may impact our timelines, as we need x-weeks to complete the analysis”. Refrain from using phrases like “You are 5 days late in providing us the data” or “The project is delayed because of you”).
- Be straightforward and concise to avoid confusion; ensure your counterpart doesn’t think you are “duping” them.
- Example: If you are pushing back on the client’s work, say it directly but in a compassionate way. For example, “I would have assumed the revenue assumptions would be lower for x, y, and z reasons. Can you talk us through the assumptions underlying your work? Would love to learn more.” This can be more effective than “How did you get to your results? I think they are wrong.”
A lot of conscious communication goes back to emotional intelligence.
Benefits Of Conscious Communication
There are many benefits of conscious communication which can help you not only in a professional context but also in a personal context.
- Communicate more effectively with your counterparts and improve the reception of your ideas.
- Influence your counter-parties in a more effective way.
- Develop greater executive presence.
- Increase awareness of how your communication style can impact others.
- Develop trusted, authentic relationships with others.
- Manage conflicts more effectively and ensure your words / actions do not hurt any of your counterparts.
- Experience greater upward mobility, given your ideas are more influential and you are able to drive greater impact.
As such, conscious communication is an essential skill to master for your professional career (and can also benefit your personal life)! Conscious communication represents the ability to shape your verbal and nonverbal communications style to more effectively influence others. By using conscious communication, you can make sure your audience is more receptive to your ideas. Think of it this way – if someone uses conscious communication, you are more likely to get your desired outcome than if someone does not use conscious communication and rubs their counter-parties the wrong way.
As such, conscious communication is a key skill in consulting and in other industries. If you would like help with your team to communicate more effectively, check out our corporate training options here. We’re happy to help your team succeed!
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