When leaders and teams learn tools and discover ways to have open and authentic conversations, it creates an environment where people feel safe to say what they need to say. As a Human Behavior and Interpersonal Communications Specialist, I’ve helped many leaders and their teams develop stress-free communication.
The direct result of open communication is that organizations will increase employee retention and have fewer employees experiencing burnouts. People are happier and more engaged in their jobs when they feel heard and understood.
We are regularly faced with stressful situations throughout our day, both at home and at work, which can ultimately impact how we communicate with those around us.
If you have children, you have undoubtedly experienced a tough morning at home which causes you to either arrive to work a few minutes late, or be worried that you may be late. Perhaps your work day then starts with a big meeting. Whether or not you are still stressed about your morning family challenges will impact how you are able to show up in that meeting. It can influence how open you are to hearing ideas that you disagree with. It impacts how you reply to people who are disagreeing with you, or who aren’t hearing you.
If we’re not mindful of how we’re feeling, in the moment, this has an impact not only on our interactions with those around us during the stressful moment, but also, on how we communicate with others throughout the day. I refer to this as being in either a receptive or a reactive state.
Stress-free communication is about getting in touch with and understanding our needs and our feelings
A receptive state is when we’re calm, present, and able to listen to what someone is telling us. We can try to understand someone else’s perspective. We can sit with difficult, uncomfortable feelings in conversations. Being in this state enables us to resolve differences with our communication partners.
When we’re in a reactive state, we’re responding instinctively. We aren’t fully present in our interactions when we are in a reactive state. These conversations are more likely to lead to conflict because we’re simply reacting to what others are saying without consciously reflecting on a more rational level. To step out of a reactive state, we need to get in touch with how we are feeling and express that consciously.
If you find that interactions within your work setting are too frequently reactive, know that you don’t have to continue with these patterns forever. My keynote/workshop Shrink the Reactive Zone: Master Stress Free Communication at Work helps leaders and teams identify when they are in the receptive or reactive zone (as this fluctuates frequently throughout the day). Participants also learn strategies to be able to bring themselves back to the receptive zone so that employees can communicate without drama.
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