Leadership Corner: Communication Part Five

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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Carolyn Taylor Guest Columnist

There is nothing like someone looking you in the eye and saying or telling you something! Can you tell they mean it? So let us review the communication of Eye Contact, the sneaky communication skill of the Sandwich Approach, and the skill of Enthusiastic Resonance.

Eye Contact: Eye contact encourages listening, as it requires focusing on the communicator’s face—especially the eyes. The eyes are known in legend to be the “windows of the soul.” The eyes seem to smile when a person is happy, or they become tearful when overwhelmed with sadness. We cannot ignore the role of the eyes in giving a story. By watching the eyes, we get a small but essential glimpse of the inner self, possibly expressing a meaning that the voice, at times, cannot say.

Eye contact is a simple task, requiring no information about HOW to communicate effectively. However, the message becomes clear to you—all you have to do is watch as the sadness, joy, pain, and a hundred other emotions are expressed in your watch-the-eye messages. You have learned the messages you will receive through your own experiences in life. Sandwich Approach: The sandwich has two soft pieces of bread and selected content between the two slices. The soft slices of bread represent the beginning and the end of a conversation, and the selected content in the middle of the two pieces of bread represents the “meat” of the conversation.

The beginning of the conversation is the “first piece of bread.” It should draw the person into a conversation. The comments should be what the person would like to hear—but truthful! It gets the undivided attention of the person. It is the piece of bread (so to speak) on one side of the sandwich.

Next, the sandwich’s middle (or the “meat” of the conversation) needs to occur. Perhaps this information is something they do not want to hear from you; however, they need to hear it!

Once the “meat” is communicated, the closing comments should be soft and supportive. The other side of the sandwich has the other soft bread slice; hence, the closing remarks represent the soft and supportive words and comments.

A thank you for something good the person does or has done would be appropriate in closing, and anything that shows an employee’s essence of kindness is suitable. The message of appreciation encourages the person to leave your presence with a positive feeling, and you, as the leader, have had an opportunity to share comfortably and acceptably the “meat” of your conversation. It also sets an example of courtesy, a hallmark of the role of the leader.

Example: “Sally, you have been with us for twelve years and have done great good for our company. However, you consistently arrive late daily, causing other employees to wait for your arrival. Thank you, Sally, for listening to my concern, and I will appreciate you arriving on time. You have always been willing to help.”

Enthusiastic Resonance: Enthusiasm is catching! When you are enthused about something, other people usually capture the spirit you put forth. When a person is troubled and can be motivated to have more energy, you can help by showing personal enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm is usually enough to encourage more vitality from the person that is too quiet or distraught. Conversely, if you want to quiet or calm a person, being personally silent in movement and conversation helps calm the situation and the human spirit.

Example: Sometimes just raising your voice is mimicked by other employees in their enthusiastic behavior and practice.

( Carolyn Taylor, Ed.D. M.N. R.N., is a nationally acclaimed author. For more information go to leadershippoweronline. com. She can be reached at carolynrtaylor21@yahoo.com.)

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