Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Power of Communication

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Carl W. Buechner

I was thinking a great deal about what this quote says. This past week has illustrated that to me in so many ways. Being one to experience through multi-dimensions I realised this is exactly how I perceive and experience those around me. It’s by how they make me feel rather than what it is they say. Part of it stems from where others are in their lives and how the communicate (or don’t) with me and a great deal has to do with body language, tone of voice and the unspoken word.

I seem to have experienced the entire range of the spectrum this past week, being with old friends, in that place of comfort where you know you’re accepted no matter what, meeting long time correspondence friends for the first time and experiencing that sense of anticipation, knowing the face to face experience is one I’d remember for a lifetime and meeting new people, some who pleasantly surprised me and others who surprised me in their curtness and coldness. For some reason the latter always surprises me as I can never understand how people can choose to be cold and uncommunicative when there’s always the alternative. But that’s who I am and if nothing else I’ve learned over the years through training and life’s experiences not to expect others to behave as I would in any given circumstance.

…An ongoing learning experience for me, as I’m sure it is for many others.

I do believe, however that if people realised how they made others feel with their words, they might change how they share them. I might not remember specific words someone tells me but I will always remember how they made me feel in the telling, or writing of them.

This was a milestone of a week for me in many ways, one of which was completing my first E-book. (Stay tuned because it will be published sometime this week). I asked some colleagues and clients to give it a read and comment on it. One of them said she’d travel miles to meet the person behind this book. I know she doesn’t give empty compliments. It made me feel on top of the world. Another client who has become friend told me “You are always giving to others on all sides of you” which touched me beyond description. I will always remember how these people made me feel, not necessarily in words but in moments in time.

I suppose the reason I’m sharing this in the first place is because once words leave your mouth or are sent in a letter, you can never take them back. That instant feeling the recipient will have, either of elation or hurt will linger and will not be forgotten. It might fade in time, but some trace of that feeling will remain. It’s all in what you give….how you communicate. How do you want others to remember you? How do you want someone else to feel when they read your words or listen to you? Once you ask yourself that question, the answer will, I hope, help you choose accordingly.

Donna Karlin

No comments: