Conscious Communication – a paradigm for the 21st century!

“Communication is what the listener does!”

(Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne paraphrasing Peter Drucker)

Effective communication has been an idiom of successful societies from times immemorial. However, throughout history the need to have this skill was limited to very few that had positions of importance on the echelons of society.

Globalisation and most importantly, technology, has made it imperative though that more and more people develop this skill in order to progress their careers and lives to what I have previously described as Endelexeia (here and here). Hence, today more than ever before, we need to focus on this essential skill and gain consciousness of the way we communicate with others.

Funnily enough, we are gaining consciousness of this skill anyway as technology is forcing us to. Let’s see how and why this is important.

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CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION IN THE TIME OF THE MACHINE

Conscious communication can be defined as the intentional transfer of meaning with the purpose to influence others.

It has been a long and difficult process to adapt our communication style so others’ can understand and be influenced by the interaction. Conflict resolution techniques affirm that we need to consider how we communicate if we want to avoid conflict reappearing and stifle our efforts.

This is very important as the stakes are high, while we are going through a transition of eras especially in the Western world – transition from the industrial age to the “information” age. A transition that needs innovators, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs that are effective.

Living at the outset of an era that most surely will be influenced by Artificial Intelligence (AI), we see the trends of adaptive communication and conscious communication to grow faster than ever.

For example, five years ago we did not consider that it would be possible that we will train ourselves to learn specific phrases, so that Siri can understand us.

Noting the fast evolution of IBM’s Watson, evolution that allows “the machine” to begin to really understand fuzzy logic and ‘human speak’, I see that there will be a convergence between human and machine in the communication sphere. This has already started.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND COMMUNICATION

I have discussed before about the need to continuously learn as an essential skill for the 21st century (see here).

As the futurist Alvin Toffler highlighted:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Our ability to learn how to interact and communicate with the outside world will evolve as well. For instance, the simple tasks that allow us to go about our lives e.g. getting change at the counter, knowing how much the discount is when we are on a shopping spree or knowing how to send an email will shift to completely different levels e.g. how to program-customize our personal assistant robot most probably by talking to it so it can learn and adapt itself (as science fiction as this may seem we are not far from it – see here).

Entering this new era makes us more receptive to adapt our communication style and look at our communications from the second perspective in order to be effective, and achieve the required outcome e.g. Siri to finally get what you mean and give you an adequate, coherent response.

THE FUTURE

I believe that this great beginning of learning to interact and really communicate with AI systems provides a golden opportunity to also start considering the necessary and well overdue adjustment of our style relevant to human communications.

Doing so, will create a boost in our effectiveness and our ability to express ourselves and create meaningful relationships and finally succeed as societies overall e.g. increase further our standard of living – collectively.

HOW TO MAKE A START

Next time you are entering a discussion perform active listening, i.e.:

  1. Try and really understand your partner in conversation. Be conscious about listening and catch yourself when instead of trying to understand your partner you are just preparing the next thing to say.
  2. Ask inquiring questions
  3. Use visual cues – Smile and nod to the other person to show understanding and agreement when so,
  4. Try and understand the other persons communication style by laying attention to their expressions for instance:

A) Visual

They use phrases like : “read the instructions”, “show me”

B) Auditory

                    They use phrases like : “I hear you”, “listen to me”

C) Kinesthetic

                    They use phrases like : “let me try”, “I will show you”

then try to adjust to this style and see if your communication is more successful.

At the end of it all, remember that:

“It’s not what you know, it’s what you use that makes a difference”.

Zig Ziglar

 

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Image courtesy of Simon Abrams / www.flickr.com

About George Vrakas
George Vrakas (MBA, CCMP, CMILT) is highly reputed in the fields of Contract and Relationship Management as well as, Services Procurement and Logistics with extensive experience in Contract Management, Procurement and Supply Chain. George is passionate about Contract Management, Procurement, Innovation, Continuous Improvement, Exploring trends that will shape the Future, Team Development and the Modernisation and Automation of processes. George is a member of IACCM. George is the author of www.georgevrakas.com blog and has presented on Globalisation, Procurement and Continuous Improvement at various venues and Universities in Victoria, Australia.

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