Five Thoughtful Tips for Communicating Without the Chaos

How many times have you left a conversation—business or personal—and wished you could restructure your response? What social media post made your heart race so you hastily responded, then realized damage had been done by a response you didn’t really intend?

Every single day we have face-to-face, phone, and virtual interactions with people who have the power to make or break our day on a personal or professional level. Sometimes those interactions become intense, heated, or misconstrued leaving a less than desirable results in our laps.

Miscommunication leads to loss of trust, respect, and ultimately business if we aren’t careful. What control do we have over these results? When you recognize and take five to focus, you have the power to control your results and so much more! Everything starts with the brain.

Years ago, I started working on my own responses because personally and professionally I was known as a hothead, one who would pop-off quickly at something I disagreed with or when I didn’t get my way. Then I realized, there is a way to effectively communicate your thoughts, feelings, and intentions without repercussions. You must “take five to focus”. Let me show you how, and if I can do it, you can too.

  1. Freeze - freeze your lips, freeze your fingertips. Recognize your need to respond and stop. Do not speak, and do not type. This is the hardest part to initiate because your brain has already laid this automatic neural pathway. Once you master this first part, everything else will become easier with time. Initially, just freeze.

  2. Observe - take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Recognize your breathing, your posture, and your tension in your body. Pull your shoulders back and down, relax your hands, neck, and body. Taking a deep breath and observing your body postures brings oxygen and blood flow to the frontal lobe of your brain. The frontal lobe is your executive function area, and doing this will improve your response of words, thoughts, or actions

  3. Consider - recognize the other’s perspective and realize communication is a two way street. Consider their thoughts, values, and feelings. Considering another person‘s perspective even if you don’t agree is the highest form of intelligence. Just doing this expands the neural pathways in your brain

  4. Understand - recognize that you do not have to agree with everything the other person is saying, believing, or doing, but you can learn from it, and vice versa if you stay steady and not blow it or lose respect from them with your response. By understanding, you open your mind to other options of response and appropriate ways of communicating with the other person

  5. Speak - recognize when you’ve completed all of the steps, and the words that are about to come out of your mouth are logical, intelligent, and respectful.  Only after you’ve gone through the steps, have you given your brain time to process the input and then elicit a proper output response. If you do not give your brain time before speaking or typing a response, you run a risk of miscommunication that can be a slippery slope.

photo from Carrie Boan

photo from Carrie Boan

Believe me, I know this seems like an impossible scenario for some even broken down into steps. But when you take that first five seconds, five minutes, five hours, or even five days—it becomes more and more of a habit.

It takes 21 days to initiate a new habit, 66 days to solidify a new neural pathway into a habit so be patient with yourself.  Gaining control of your mind and mouth is a powerful step toward success, but you have to take that first five seconds.

Imagine leaving your teenager or spouse after A heated exchange with peace and progress towards happiness. Imagine leaving a Facebook post on your view without second-guessing whether you’ll be deleted or banned. Imagine closing that deal with your ideal high end, but tough-negotiating client using calm, control, and clarity to win them over.

Taking five to focus now creates future success and less stress. To gain the trust, respect, and relationships you desire personally and professionally, you must take five to focus, understanding that even your business starts with your brain.

Carrie Boan

Carrie Boan

About Carrie Boan

As a Certified Brain Health, Life Coach, and Youth Sports Safety Consultant, I specialize in working with young professionals and student athletes who struggle with focus, anxiety, mental clarity, and mental fitness, not limited to, but including those recovering from concussion and other neurological changes.

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