Exploring Possibilities: Creative Communication
Communication, as we all know and understand, is the building block of all kinds of relationships, be it professional or personal. When it comes to communication, listening is one of the most important parts of it. We are all advised to become good listeners. But do we realize that communication is just not about speaking or listening. In my humble opinion, it is about taking an idea and creating a concept out of it. This way we enter into the arena of creative communication.
A few of us might have a view that creativity is not everyone's cup of tea. Not everyone is creative in communication. Well, I would like to add to this view. There is this statement to illustrate my viewpoint. “there are no successful people, there are only successful habits”
If I view the topic of creativity under the spotlight of this statement, I will put it as, “there are no creative people, there are only creative habits”. Today I am going to highlight one such creative habit, which if practiced and pursued, can nurture creative communication.
We all know Mr. Nelson Mandela. He is one of those celebrities who is universally regarded as a great leader. We might have different opinions about other personalities depending on the nation we go to, but Nelson Mandela is one of the most critically acclaimed leaders. He was a son of a tribal chief, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa. Richard Stengel, the journalist who worked with Nelson Mandela on his autobiography, (Long walk to freedom) asked him, how did he learn to be a great leader?
He responded that he learnt this from his father. He used to go with his father to the tribal meetings. He said he remembers two things which his father always used to ensure. Number one, they all used to sit in a circle. Number two, his father was always the last to speak. Later as leader, he practiced this lesson in his own meetings.
If we look at the leaders, corporate leaders in particular, I mean the decent ones, they enter into the board rooms and say, hi guys, we all are facing a situation, and in my opinion the solution is this. He mentions his view point and then asks the opinion of others. This guy will always say that he seeks the opinion of others while making a decision. But do you also feel the same. Isn’t it too late to ask for an opinion. He has already seeded his inclination in the minds of the people sitting there. It’s a skill to practice to hold your opinion till everyone has spoken.
It has two benefits. One, it gives everybody else the feeling that they have been heard. By hearing from everyone, you can give them the feeling that they have contributed. Two, you get the opportunity to understand the feelings of everyone else about the topic, as to what they have to say.
All you have to do is to simply ask the question, why do people feel what they feel. Richard Stengel, the biography writer for Mandela says, “he would hear his colleagues’ opinions and end meetings by summarizing their points and offering his own, “subtly steering the decision in the direction he wanted without imposing it.”We have to understand why people are having the opinion they are having. We must understand the drift as to where they are speaking, not just what they are saying. At the end you will get your turn.
Now when you have all the perspectives with you, you have lots of options and understanding. When you speak, it will have lots of empathy. Your statement will come as people’s voice. You will be perceived as a creative communicator. A creative person is one who has a lot of options and choices.
All you have to do is just make this a habit. Sounds easy, because it’s simple. But all simple things are not easy. So ladies and gentlemen, get this habit of communication. You will explore more perspectives and perspectives build possibilities....All the best...
(The author is a Certified Designed Thinking Master practitioner and Clifton Certified Strength Finder Coach, Corporate Trainer and a Leadership coach. He is based in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.)