You show what you value by how you spend your resources, and your most valuable of resources is time.
How you spend your time, and who you spend it on, communicates volumes.
When you reach out to someone else, the results can be remarkable. It's great fun to connect with someone you love being with, someone who makes you laugh and makes you feel valued and alive. You enjoy working with him or her, so you tend to reach out more than to someone who's tough to work with. It's difficult to reach out to those who are prickly. Chances are you work with a few of those people (admit it - you thought of someone in particular, didn't you?). Or even more trying, perhaps you're related to one.
I was traveling recently and seated at a table with a fellow I considered to be a bit of a know-it-all. He regaled us with demonstrations of his acerbic wit. He engaged in conversations without acknowledging the validity of others' viewpoints. In short, he was a conversation bully. My inclination was to shoot back, to argue with him, to dislike him, his opinions, and what I believed he stood for.
Instead, what I did was reach out to connect.
How, you ask? With a technique I've found to be exceptionally effective. I've used it at meetings, with clients, and in my personal life, and I invite you to use it the next time you encounter someone who you find difficult. This technique requires practice and discipline, and it works.
If you have a certain someone in mind, someone with whom you don't quite see eye to eye, picture them right now and do this exercise. When you see him or her next time, do this exercise again, in person.
Use the "camera technique" to gain perspective.
Look at him or her objectively. Picture yourself as a camera person or a talk show host simply watching them communicate and observing the dynamics between all the parties. Focus on the process, how he or she is speaking, what gestures he or she is using. Find something, anything, no matter how small, that you find amusing or admirable. You might have to dig. Focus hard. Let that amusement fill your being and curl the corners of your lips. You genuinely admire and like that aspect of this person.
We're all package deals, collections of experiences and attitudes. Find something in the package of that person you authentically enjoy. Perhaps it's his or her vast knowledge (although this type of person may not know everything, he or she does know something. Admire that something). Or maybe it's the way they are able to respond so quickly (albeit with inappropriate response -- it's the speed and wit you appreciate). Perhaps you've noticed how they have an ability to bite their tongue when others would blurt out a response (though you'd love if they actually spoke up every now and then).
Identify something you authentically admire.
Building on that positive point, no matter how small, picture that positive feeling welling up inside you to the point of overflow. Pick whatever color this feeling is to you, then imagine yourself being empty and filling with this color as it completely fills and envelopes you. This color is so large it begins to reach out with a long rubbery arm to embrace the person of your attention. Wrap him or her in this blanket of color, let it wash over and surround him or her. Focus on something positive about this person, and let the feeling flow.
Energy is a fact of science. You emit and receive energies of various types, both positive and negative. You likely use expressions involving energy, such as, "we're on the same wavelength", "he gives me good vibes", or "she's really tuned in to the issues". Your energy is your resource. You can choose to channel and use it to connect with others.
When you're in your workplace or dealing with clients (or even family members), you'll have plenty of opportunity to put this technique to practice. It has helped turn many what-could-be irritating people into somewhat amusing characters. This exercise will help you connect with 99% of people ... even with the nasties you may work with, serve or be related to. Go ahead and color your world.
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Until next time, here's to ...
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
© 2012 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete tagline with it: Communication specialist, author, professional speaker Marion Grobb Finkelstein teaches individuals and organizations across Canada and beyond, how to improve morale, confidence and productivity by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks and sign up for her FREE weekly "Marion's Communication Tips" at www.MarionSpeaks.com