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August 2016
Communication at Work
The following is an "oldie but goodie" from August 2012 republished this month by popular demand.

An Affirming LifestylePatti Lind

Decades ago, I was driving to work and saw the bumper sticker "Teach Peace". The majority of my work is around conflict resolution and seeing that bumper sticker compelled me to start teaching a course on Peace rather than Conflict. I designed a course called Communication of Affirmation and taught it at Marylhurst University for almost three decades.

An important takeaway from that course is that even if you are able to resolve all of your conflicts, you still won't have what it takes to make your relationships work. While conflicts are noteworthy, hopefully these moments are more incidental and have clear boundaries for when they begin and end. But, what matters most in relationships at work and at home is the experience of feeling valued and connected. This sense of feeling connected and valued should feel more like a continuous stream through your relationships and associations at work. We communicate valuing whenever we greet one another, converse, problem solve together, make amends, play together and comfort one another.

Here is a list of very simple ways you can bring a greater sense of valuing into the relationships in your life.
  • Greet people
  • Light up when you see them
  • Look into their eyes long enough that they feel seen.
  • Stop and listen
  • Remember what they have said.
  • Re-tell positive stories about them
  • Laugh and play together
  • Touch them … shake hands, a touch on the shoulder or forearm, or a warm embrace
  • Compliment them as a person … not their clothing and their possessions
  • View them as capable and encourage them to think for themselves, pay attention to their feelings and their ability to solve their own problems with their own wisdom
  • Let them know that while they will make mistakes, they are not a failure. Encourage them to continue to experiment and learn.
  • Notice when they are not their usual self and express your concern for their well-being.
  • Tell them in a heartfelt way how important they are to you, to the team, to the organization, to the family.
  • If you love them … tell them as often as you like, in a heartfelt way … with no strings attached.

When all is said and done, it is important to have the skills to successfully resolve one’s conflicts, but the ability to connect with others in a genuine manner and communicate valuing is vastly more important.
Create an inspiration wall for the month … invite the team to post their most inspirational quotes, stories, and photographs. If I was on your team, I would post "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" by Anais Nin. What would you post?

Resources
My book, Communication At Work, is available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, and eBook formats, and may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell Bookstore and Inkwater Press.
Communication at Work

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