Recently I have been asked in real life and on Quora several questions which basically come down to basically this: what is the best way to “connect” with another person. Being a coach, my answer is naturally going to be a question. I asked them this question “What do you think is the most important thing that leads to the best and most genuine form of connection between two human beings?”
Most answers are similar and along this idea: sharing our real selves through the topic in conversations, whatever that topic may be.
So I thought, instead of writing an article on “how to”, I want to take the opportunity to share with you what I see is the most important element in terms of relationship building, which by the way if you are somewhat experienced in the world of work, you will know that this is the way most people do their best businesses regardless of the culture they came from! Word of mouth is essentially built with the highest quality product/services on greatest relationships.
One of the most important thing in a connected relationship is not how skilful you are at communication but if you have expressed your true thoughts and feelings
Most of you know how to communicate your feelings honestly if need be. What we are stuck on is not ‘how” to communicate our feelings (although this itself deserve another article or 10!) but that too often we seem to find excuses not to because “too much is at stake” or we fear that others will think the worst of us. Sometimes we even go so far as to over-share on everything else just to compensate for the true feelings that we never end up sharing at all!
In the wider Asian context, this situation is even more exacerbated because culturally Asians just do not tend to share their true feelings. There is always someone’s face to save, sometimes more than their own. People do not show their hands until the others do and they seem feel completely comfortable staying in such ambiguity forever.
However, with the business world turning faster than ever, this kind of behaviour creates much misunderstandings among stake holders and we no longer have the luxury to keep the misunderstanding up that cost companies thousands of dollars (like when a deal fails to close) as well as your own mental health.
Research in neuro-science has proved that the human brain really dislike ambiguity, sees it as a particularly negative episode. This is why we instinctually react with our amygdala under such settings rather than opening up to discussion leveraging our pre-frontal cortex. (You are welcome to ask me more about the neuro-science evidence but to keep this an under 3 mins read I will leave that chunk out!)
To this end, I believe the following reminders and self-reflections would assist you if you caught yourself holding back your true feelings. Try them out with close friends and family first if you are scared to do so with your boss right away. Give it time, practice, practice, practice and you will graduate with flying colours in this regard.
“I know that relationships cannot grow without understanding, I share my honest feelings with the special people in my life.”
“I know I run the risk that the other person may misunderstand or perhaps even get angry, but I am confident that we can work through these hitches and use them to develop deeper relationships.”
“I have let go of the tendency to only admit to those feelings that could be classified as nice. It's a wonderful thing to be happy, content and peaceful. When I do feel that way, I am more than pleased to share the good feelings all around.”
“I also recognize that life is often far too challenging to be in a perpetual happy state and I am unwilling to pretend for the sake of keeping the waters calm.”
“I strive for authenticity in my relationships. I want those I love to feel like they can come to me when they are hurt or upset. I set a precedent by being open with them and by sharing my fears, worries, and struggles along the way.”
“I realize that some people in life are merely being polite when they ask how I’m doing. I am careful with my heart and don't expose my inner self to people unless I know that they genuinely care about me.”
“Once I am comfortable with others, I am willing to take risk in sharing my thoughts and feelings because I know that it is the only way to develop authentic, supportive relationships, business or personal alike.”
1. Do I dare to be honest within the relationships that truly matter to me?
2. Do I set a precedent for honesty by my words and actions?
3. Am I trustworthy when others confide in me?
What do you think of the above? I encourage you get right to practice by sharing your feelings with everyone reading this! If you like this, follow me and leave your comments below or email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org