"Every time you dance around an issue, you diminish your capacity and self-worth. You give away your power, your integrity and your dignity. Be direct -- and be taken seriously."
Here are two questions to ask yourself:
1. What is the price I pay for sugarcoating -- or bulldozing -- through my conversations?
2. Is that how I really want to spend my life?
Which reminds me of emotional exhaustion. While we're so busy thinking of different scenarios and different ways to respond in a conversation, we're not really present to what's taking place. Spinning our webs results in spinning our wheels, and pretty soon exhaustion sets in. Then again, there's the bulldozer approach, which isn't a helpful style either. We all know those people who can suck the air right out of a room.
Next time you're in a group setting notice the dynamics. We actually do this all the time on autopilot, taking in all the components of communication -- the words, the tone/attitude, nuances and body language.
According to Louann Brizendine, author of "The Male Brain" and "The Female Brain," men and women differ in the way they arrive at decisions. They might very well reach the same decision, although the male brain typically gets there in a more linear fashion, while the female brain is more circuitous in its path, taking more stimuli into consideration. Hence, the ongoing Mars/Venus challenges.
None of this is necessarily good, bad, right or wrong. It's just information to take into account whenever we feel misunderstood. Perhaps we need to be more direct -- or more tactful -- to get our points across. You may want to use the active listening approach and repeat back to someone, "So what I hear you saying is ..." to clarify the communication. I'd be careful about using this too much, though, since it can become monotonous.
And remember to keep it all in perspective. As Dr. Seuss said, "Be who you are and say what you feel -- because those who mind don't matter; and those who matter don't mind."
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.