Conscious Communication

Conscious Communication

circles, conscious communication

Image from journeytomanhood.blogspot.com.

It just occurred to me how much of a switch I’ve made in my life around communication. As a child and teenager, I was a quiet, shy person who was more comfortable with math, listening and reading than talking with people. I’m still an introvert who prefers inner activities, but have learned a great deal about communication, starting with the decision in college to pursue a management degree instead of math, which was my strongest subject and comfort zone.

After training in listening, mirroring, and conflict resolution, I’ve become more conscious in my communication with people. Although none of those help when I have to give a public speech, but that’s a different post!

I’m considering making communication the focus of my work and career!

I was very inspired by an article about Kay Pranis and her work as a facilitator for people in groups. She is a pioneer in the use of circles for Restorative Justice and conflict resolution. Kay has found circles to be a powerful tool for people to bond, listen, gain more understanding and often resolve conflicts. She uses ceremonies to bring people present at the beginning and end of each session, as well as various tools and processes meant to create more conscious communication within the circles. Here is an article exploring Kay’s processes, lessons and experiences in holding a space of not knowing for her groups.

One of her tools is using a talking stick for the person who is speaking. As long as they hold the stick, they have the “floor” with all other participants focused on listening, holding space and being present. This creates a much deeper space of listening for the person talking. Often new levels of sharing and understanding are reached. I’ve experienced similar benefits in Men’s groups during my 30s. I found the talking stick to be a great tool for listening, giving respect and being heard.

After reading Kay’s interview, something clicked for me. I’ve always been a pretty good listener. In fact, as a teenager, I heard many intimate details from people who were later embarrassed by all they had shared with me. They made a point of telling me they don’t usually share that much. Each step in my life seems to be leading up to facilitating, teaching and helping people. Communication might be the best topic for me, given my years in sales, men’s groups and more recently learning to write. I’ve developed various aspects of communication.

I believe most of us have a deep need to heard, with the other person focused completely on listening, not responding, fixing, debating or rushing off to the next activity. I want to explore possible applications for circles and conscious communication that I could offer the world. I’ve learned to be a better listener and communicator, while participating in groups. I would love to help others use communication consciously to aid their understanding, compassion and connection.

I also know that communication goes well beyond verbal communication. A good facilitator holds an energetic space for the group. We’ve all experienced feeling the energy of another person or group, regardless of the words spoken. Sitting in silent communion with others is another wonderful experience. Words still play a vital part in how we share and learn about each other. I see so much conflict in the world, and wonder if communication tools might help bring people together in peace and understanding.

I would be delighted if you held space for me (or share your ideas for me) in clarifying how I might offer communication services to the world. Thanks!

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25 thoughts on “Conscious Communication

  1. An excellent idea Brad.. would your circle be used for a specific topic? or encouraging those with certain problems..
    As you may or may not know I ran a development circle in awareness of developing intuition and psychic skills in clairvoyance.. To get people used to talking in public I would have a set of small angel cards.. Each had just one word printed upon them.. I would hand them around which they would pick at random and then they would have one minute each to talk upon the given subject..
    Believe me one minute is a long time when you first start.. I would then increase it to 3 minutes… Encouraging them to have a beginning middle and end which rounded it off back at the beginning.. I know if this passion is deep seated within you you will find ways of making this a reality Brad.. 🙂
    Wishing you well with this project

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  2. Brad, this is a great way to facilitate groups of many kinds. I think you’d be naturally gifted at this, and you could also take a ‘train-the-trainer/faciliator’ workshop yourself, in addition to the other training you’ve received, to help you prepare.
    Interesting that the methods you mention come from older cultures — the talking stick from Africa, the circle from aboriginal/African/other older cultures, and restorative justice seems to take its inspiration for aboriginal ways of dealing with crime, punishment versus restoration. We have much to learn from these cultures.

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  3. Thanks Cynthia. I’m excited to consider this kind of work. I absolutely agree that we have much to learn from indigenous cultures, including the respect for nature, spiritual foundation and much more. My favorite men’s group was based on Native American principals. I appreciate you.

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  4. Brad…I love how you are jumping out of your comfort zone! I think there is much to be learned when we are willing to fling off our insecurities and face the music so to speak. I think the fact that you have gratitude in your heart and wish to help others is a very good place to start. There are many ways you can approach this. My only advice would be that you have to look deep inside YOU. If you come from a place that you KNOW well…and that is YOUR truth, then you will find your answer. Much pain…and healing can be very universal but I think you need to start from a place that you know personally. Others will then find you…you will attract your ‘circle’ organically.

    I know you are looking for something that will have a monetary compensation and the sooner the better, but I believe when you find your place…your truth…all of that will follow. I pray for you, Brad. You are always in my heart and I wish you many blessings ❤

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  5. We really learn the most by doing – so you could create a small group to practice and to fine-tune your skills. Holding the energetic space for a group is as important as the individual interactions you have with each participant and the group. That includes coming into the group with a clear mind instead of preoccupied with personal issues, being able to step back and ask open-ended questions to facilitate group discussion even if you have the knowledge and answers in your head, acknowledging when you don’t know something and using it as a springboard for group input….there’s so much to group facilitation and the more you do it, the deeper your groups will be able to go. Good luck with it all. I’m sure you’ll let us know what you end up doing.

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  6. Communication, for intro or extroverts, is an important part of life, whether in a professional and/or personal field. Whether in a family or business group environment, I would see the talking stick concept you talk about to be a great tool for listening, giving respect and being heard – the three hardest things I believe to happen especially in this ‘me first’ world that we are living in (working in especially).

    People would definitely pay for a good facilitator who can hold an energetic space for the group, the questions as you say is creating a business around it by defining who that group is – and then getting them to understand that it is of value (they can pay). My thoughts would be to find companies out there who provide such a service and get in with them at any level, learn…and then if opportunities are not there branch off and do it your way 🙂 Cheers to a great weekend Brad.

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    • Good tips Randall. Thank you for taking the time to ponder and share. I’m glad to hear that you think people and companies would pay. I like your idea to find a person or company doing similar work and join them to get started. To adventures and conscious, compassionate communication! 🙂

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  7. One of the most meaningful moments in life is when we connect to another soul. And communication from our heart is the foundation for that. I am thrilled to know of your plans to look into this wonderful opportunity for work and service. I know you have a natural gift for conscious communication! I pray for doors to open and opportunities to present themselves to you even as you open up yourself to all possibilities! Keep us posted. For your information, I’m helping out at an international school with their Writers’ Workshop and Literature Circles a few times a week. I am loving it! Thinking of you and wishing you divine guidance and blessings. Sharon

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  8. Kudos on your exciting work Sharon! I appreciate your kind words, reminders and support. You are so right, that some of most special and intimate moments are when we connect at the heart level. Often no words are needed. May we live, speak and act from love.

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  9. Oh I’m so excited to have got back onto WP for so long and to see this post! I know from the gentle support you’ve always offered me that you would be more than able to make this your job in life. And as you listen, you’ll hear what the focus should be. Amazing. I’m so excited for you.

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