On our way to mastering mindfulness, we all must come to terms with our ability to speak mindfully. Are you one of the rare few who have undergone mindful speaking training?
According to research, around 75% of Americans struggle to communicate with others. That's over 200 million people! What's more, you might be surprised to learn that the average person listens at around a 25% efficiency.
Perhaps you are a great communicator. Still, most of us are mindless speakers who do not listen to each other very well.
The truth is, we spend most of our time worried about what others think of us, or what we are going to say next that we sort of summarily absorb key points and that means we've got to be even more mindful of what we say when speaking to others.
You're Hearing Me, but not Listening...
Ever been in the middle of a conversation and find yourself losing focus or drifting off into your own world?
Perhaps you've been on the other side of the equation and feel as though the person or people you are speaking with aren't listening to you. It's not your fault!
We are programmed to pay attention to things we are interested in, but our mental capacity to improve our listening skills is possible with mindfulness techniques, such as active listening training.
You see, listening is probably the most important skill you can master when it comes to relating to others, but how well you listen goes hand in hand with the impact of your speech.
Improving one or both communication methods will surely boost the quality of your interpersonal relationships with others.
Mindful Communication is a 2-way Street
Mindful communication involves training oneself to be more impactful with our speech, while also actively listening to others without the desire to interrupt. There are many reasons why this is effective, but let's look at why we communicate with others in the first place.
Why We Speak
Why We Listen
We should all be pros at communicating, right?
Given all the verbal communication that we involve ourselves with, you would think mindful communication would be on everyone's self-improvement list, yet the majority of us aren't even aware of how well we perform in either arena.
Rarely, you might experience a perfectly engaging conversation with someone where you feel like you could spend the whole day ping-ponging back and forth. Have you experienced fluid communication like that before?
I'm talking about experiencing a conversation with someone, owning their full, undivided attention. They truly get you; they fully understand your words, tone, and body language cues. You may even feel like they are connected with you on a deeper, somewhat cosmic level even.
As rare as they are, these moments show us the full capabilities of our communication.
So, how can we communicate with each other more mindfully?
WAIT, THINK, & Be More Mindful of Your Speech
We can become more mindful in our speech by being aware of our surroundings. Just as we listen more mindfully by setting an intention to engage with those who speak to us, we can begin speaking more mindfully by waiting & thinking about what we are going to say before we go on a rambling tirade.
Use the following acronyms to speak more mindfully:
Why Am I Talking?
Is what you are about to say true to you? Are you revealing something you believe wholeheartedly or is it a rumor?
Is what you are saying helpful and relevant to the conversation? Will someone gain value from your input?
Are you delivering insightful information or opinions that make people feel engaged with the conversation?
Is all the information you are providing necessary to get the point across? Could you be more concise?
Are you bringing kindness to what you say and who you reference or are you contributing to gossip.
To speak mindfully means to be aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. It involves observing and reacting in real-time to non-verbal cues with kindness and compassion.
We are all aware how communication plays a crucial role in our daily lives, allowing us to express ourselves, build relationships, and exchange ideas. Still, communicating effectively can be challenging, especially when we are not fully present in the moment.
The Benefits of Mindful Speaking
The continued practice of mindful speaking can help improve relationships, enhance our general self-awareness, boost confidence, and reduce the stress we feel, to name a few.
Improved Relationships: By being mindful in communication, we are able to listen actively and express our thoughts and feelings respectfully and in a manner free of judgement. Speaking mindfully can help build stronger relationships and reduce conflicts.
Enhancing Self-Awareness: Mindful speaking helps increase our self-awareness, enables us to better understand our truths, encourages more thoughtful expression of our feelings, and promotes personal growth.
Boosted Confidence: Mindful speech helps us express ourselves more clearly and assertively, which can lead to a boost of confidence and self-esteem, all the while making us more honest with ourselves and others.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety: When we express our truth and feel we are heard, we worry less about being misunderstood. As a result, we experience a reduction in the production of stress hormones related to misunderstandings.
But these are just a few examples of how speaking mindfully can improve our lives.
According to recent survey examining the relationship between educators and students in the classroom, teachers who took mindful educator's fundamentals training where nearly 80% more likely to connect with their students and deliver the curriculum to their students with ease.
4 Steps to Practice Speaking Mindfully
- WAIT - Ask yourself, Why am I talking?
- THINK - Pay attention to thoughts and feelings before speaking, so that you understand your motivations and needs, and can express them in a clear and effective manner.
- Listen Actively - When communicating with others, be present in the moment and stay engaged. Avoid distractions, such as your phone or what else is happening around you. Pay attention to what the other person is saying by summarizing and repeating back to them what they said to you.
- Express Your Truth Without Judgement - Avoid making assumptions, blaming or criticizing others when expressing thoughts and feelings. Focus on respecting another person's attention by always saying kind words.
What is the Difference between Mindful Speaking and Regular Speaking?
Mindful speaking involves being present in the moment, aware of thoughts and feelings, and expressing them non-judgmentally. Regular speaking, on the other hand, may not be mindful and may involve assumptions, criticism, or negativity.
How Often to Practice Mindful Speaking?
The frequency of practicing mindful speaking will vary, but consistency is key. Make it a part of your daily routine and practice as often as needed to achieve the desired results.
Is Mindful Speaking for Everyone?
Mindful speaking can benefit individuals of all levels of communication skills, regardless of their experience. Whether you're an experienced communicator or just starting out, practicing mindful speaking can help improve your skills and build stronger relationships.
Mindful speaking is an effective collection of techniques you can practice today, that can help you improve your communication skills and build stronger relationships with those important to you. By being present in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings, and expressing them without judgement, you will cultivate stronger relationships and live with a higher degree of understanding.