If you’re wont to lament the strain that can result from ineffective communications circulating in your workplace or at home, rest easy: a mindful approach can help.
An article published on Science News entitled, “Mindfulness in the workplace improves employee focus, attention, behavior, new management-based research concludes,” suggests that mindfulness “is often viewed as either a touchy-feely fad or valuable management tool that can lift an entire workplace.”
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University emphasize the importance of the latter, claiming that “injecting a corporate culture of mindfulness not only improves focus, but the ability to manage stress and how employees work together.”
This makes sense. If business professionals regularly work under strained conditions–pressure to meet deadlines, an inability to safely voice concerns, and in concern over producing for the future (after all, production is thought to be the mainstay of a successful company)—there isn’t much mind space left for peaceful communication with self, let alone with other.
Melina Fouts, Ph.D. and contributor to Forbes Councils helps us unpack a productive way to think of mindfulness for communication. In an article appearing on Forbes entitled, “How to Become More Mindful of Your Communication,” she says of those who (feel they) lack interpersonal skills, “the key is to become more mindful.”
Fouts’s belief is that mindfulness is a skill that can be acquired through daily practice. “[It’s] about mental awareness and being present in the moment. When it comes to mindful communication, we are aware of the choices we are making and of our thinking and reasoning.”
While there are myriad methods for us to improve our communications at work and at home, the kindest step toward success is to dive in simply with one or two to practice. Let’s consider these effective communication techniques: 1) setting intention, and 2) deep listening.
Relationships contributor Lili Powell says in a piece for Mindful entitled, “3 Important Lessons on Mindful Communication,” that “to perform at our best in crucial conversations, marrying mindful intentions with mindful actions helps to ensure that you can make good on your good intentions.”
If this idea isn’t hitting home yet, consider this question: While communication at work or at home, do you take the time to reflect on your intentions before sharing ideas with others? A simple rule of thumb before offering a complex concept is to write down what you hope to achieve in an upcoming conversation.
According to entrepreneur Victoria Howes, this concept also translates not only to the work environment, but to the home environment as well. In a Thrive Global article entitled, “Why Mindful Communication is Vital to Success,” she claims that in our “personal lives, this helps the people we love know that they are treasured. At work, this lets the people around us know that they can share their ideas and come to you for an honest conversation or opinion.”
Honest communication is a noble goal to aim for; it’s a skill that can also be harnessed through the process of opening to active listening.
Matt Valentine, author and blogger contributed a piece to Goalcast entitled, “How to Bring Mindfulness to the Workplace.” There, he states of deep listening: “Deep, or mindful, listening is all about truly listening to the person who is speaking.”
Valentine claims that instead of deep listening, we typically remain caught in a web of waiting for our chance to talk. To mitigate this tendency, he suggests we focus on “making the effort to care about what the other person is expressing nonjudgmentally and letting it soak in, which you can then use to respond more skillfully with mindful speech.”
Whatever your communication goals at work or at home, it’s important to remain patient as you adopt more empowered ways of offering and receiving input. Rather than a destination, mindfulness is a journey. Enjoy the path.
Case Western Reserve University. “Mindfulness in the workplace improves employee focus, attention, behavior, new management-based research concludes.” Science News. Mar. 10, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310141455.htm
Fouts, Melina, Ph.D. “How To Become More Mindful Of Your Communication.”Forbes. June 5, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/06/05/how-to-become-more-mindful-of-your-communication/#7c4f7be41460
Howes, Victoria. “Why Mindful Communication is Vital to Success.” Thrive Global. Jan. 8, 2018. https://medium.com/thrive-global/why-mindful-communication-is-vital-to-success-b97ae8eac191
Powell, Lili. “3 Important Lessons on Mindful Communication.” Mindful. July 1, 2016. https://www.mindful.org/can-we-talk/
Valentine, Matt. “How to Bring Mindfulness to the Workplace.” Goalcast. Jan. 26, 2018. https://www.goalcast.com/2018/01/26/mindfulness-to-the-workplace/