Why it's Time to Wake the Talk Up!
Have you thought about what it means to be a good communicator? Or what good communication implies?
Is a “good communicator” someone who has a rich vocabulary? Someone who responds without hesitation? Is good communication the ability to persuade others?
How can we have a concept of “good communication” in our culture without a concrete understanding of what it means, or how to cultivate it?
For most of us, “hurtful, superficial, or frustrating” is a familiar communication experience. Just think about the number of conversations you have had trying to extract meaning or interpret intention FROM a conversation, and your head might start to spin.
How well we are understood, and how well we understand others, has a real impact on companies, teams, and interpersonal relationships.
According to various sources, we speak 7,000 - 15,000 words a day. All have the potential to be clear and impactful, or to create disconnection and misunderstanding. Misunderstandings are a massive resource sink in terms of time, misdirected energy, and mental strain.
Considering the importance of communication, it's mind-boggling that businesses and our “woke” personal growth-oriented culture don’t focus on the benefits of effective communication.
Why do so few effective communication learning resources exist? And, why is Wake the Talk UP! different?
First, learning effective communication is complex and generally not well understood. Communication is often treated as a cognitive process and is often taught one-dimensionally, as if reading about communication can radically change how someone has thought, felt, and expressed themselves for decades (hilarious, right?). The cognitive process is just part of the communication picture, so traditional instructional approaches like books may be incomplete or ineffective.
In reality, communication is a multifaceted process involving our thinking brain, body experience, history, models, and audience. Habits are deeply entrenched in patterns of thought, emotional associations, nervous system, and belief systems.
So creating more clear, connected, and impactful communication requires addressing all of these elements form new pathways, associations, and habits.
Embracing all facets of communication is a paradigm shift unto itself for many of us who are programmed around the intellectual and cerebral. This learning process invites true personal transformation, which can be intimidating, especially if not facilitated with great care.
As a result of our limited cultural understanding of communication, the concept of “good communication” is fairly vague. Maybe you’ve completed a performance review asking to evaluate someone as a “Excellent, Good, Average, or Poor Communicator” and thought to yourself, “I’ll go with… Good. That seems safe.”
In Wake the Talk UP! we work to define and measure effective communication beyond excellent/good/average/poor. We aim to discover effective communication as:
Clear: Allows us to be understood and to understand others.
Impactful: Supports our abilities and capacities.
Connected: Increases intimacy with self and others.
Second, learning effective communication is a challenge because we have barriers to overcome. Effective communication is a skill we might hope is taught in kindergarten, along with how to share and not to bite. However, traditional education does not include how to communicate effectively, let alone how to navigate more challenging "crisis" or emotionally intense conversations.
Most often, we "learn" how to communicate by emulating our parents and those around us. Perhaps we pick up cues from novellas and dramatic television, where out of control shouting is presented as the epitome of emotive expression.
Some of us wake up as adults and desire new communication skills. Perhaps we desire more rewarding conversations with our partner. We may wish to have a more impactful presence when leading our team. Or we may want to be better understood by our business partner.
So, how do we attempt to learn? We may buy some books, we may take a Public Speaking course. Perhaps we learned new communication concepts - but it's likely we don't learn how to apply them.
Third, learning effective communication has stigma and fear attached to it. Our ultimate human fear is that we are judged therefore not safe, and our corollary ultimate need is for acceptance. This is tribal, epigenetic, and runs deep for all of us - whether we’re conscious of it or not. For this reason, no one, in their fully formed adult expression, actually wants to offend someone else (except for when offense is a misplaced strategy seeking belonging - aka, bullying or gossiping).
At the same time, to the extent communication is taught, much of it is remedial, focusing on what not to say and why not to say it. There are many valid and important reasons for this: communication has the potential to offend, and cause great harm. And so, we carry fear of judgement around what we say (what if I offend?), and fear of being stigmatized for learning communication (what if I am seen as offensive?)
Against that backdrop, many of us don’t even consider the opportunities and rewards in learning effective communication.
Now that you have some ideas about the significant challenges to learning effective communication, I want to show you the significant opportunities that exist.
Along with Allison Ayer, I've been reflecting on, researching, and practicing multifaceted communication learning tools for several years. Using our own lives, relationships, and careers and as a learning laboratory, we’ve developed proprietary tools and frameworks. Incorporating them has given us access to clear, connected and impactful communication more often. It has increased trust in our relationships, creativity, and inner peace and fulfillment.
So, how is Wake the Talk UP! Different, why does it work, and what’s the impact?
First, Wake the Talk UP! addresses all facets of communication, including:
Values & Belief Systems
Awareness of Self
To hit all these facets, we use proprietary, multidimensional tools and frameworks that draw on principles from the most impactful personal development tools that we’ve experienced:
Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
Internal Family Systems
Executive Business Leadership
Culture & Organization Transformation
Traditional Consciousness Wisdom
Different individuals learn differently. We all learn differently at different moments in time. So, we employ diverse learning models, ranging from 1x1 support to group learning, to community support. Some of the examples YOU have access to in the 12-week intensive:
1x1 Hot Seat Coaching
1x1 Advice Line
What’s the result? More effective communication that enhances trust, teamwork, collaboration, and creativity. I don’t have to tell YOU why those attributes are valuable to you, and to your organization.
I will share some of the specific ways that “Wake the Talk UP!” has benefited our lives and the people we work with:
Using Wake the Talk UP!’s tools, I can respond in a challenging situation with less reactivity, more calm, and more creative presence.
I used to confuse blaming others for setting boundaries. I am more often able to give myself and others the benefit of the doubt, which builds trust and frees up creative resources to fulfill my unmet needs.
There’s an entire world of self-knowing behind the layers of judgement, evaluations, and stories I used to live in. This intimacy-with-self is one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself.
The impact of Wake the talk UP!’s lessons has been SO profound, that we believe sharing these tools has the potential to create a world of understanding. It's from this knowledge that we bring Wake the Talk UP!
Take a moment to listen to the experience of one of our Wake the Talk Up! members. In this short video Meryl describes how she applied the techniques learned in our 6-week intensive while interacting with co-workers.
Are you ready to Wake the Talk UP!? Our Online Course for individuals, and Corporate Workshops for companies and organizations begins January 19th, 2022! Join us for our 12-Week Intensive Workshop or inquire about custom offerings for your organization.