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January 8, 2012

Tip of the Week 

Insurance Against Mediocrity 


What is it?  The ability to translate thoughts, feelings, and experiences in to language that evokes a shared experience with others.

Why it's Important to You: The only way you can be sure that you -- yes, YOU -- understand something is to be able to explain it in simple non-technical terms.  Therefore, the ability to articulate is important to you because it ensures you only expect other people to understand something that you, yourself, understand.

Why it's Important to Others:  Since words are the third most effective form of communication—thought and personal experience being numbers 1 and 2—you’ll need to be pretty good at using language to explain your thoughts and experience so that another person understands.

The Problem:  Without the ability to articulate ideas and wisdom, we are at the mercy of misinterpretation and unreliable assumption that often lead to misunderstanding and disconnectedness. 


Reality Check!  

You can't effectively influence another person if you can't connect and communicate.


The Tip:    Metaphor and Simile

Writers and speakers use similes and metaphors to connect a message to their audience.  By linking an idea to something easily understood by the listener, you create the context and articulate the message.  For example, let’s say you want to describe your grumpy mood in the morning.

·         Simile:  I grumble like a bear in the morning.

·         Metaphor:  I'm a bear in the morning.

Try this:  This week, consider using metaphor or simile to explain something to your child or to someone close to you.  Remember, to obey the Small Step Rule.

  1. Pick something funny and slightly embarrassing that happened to you long ago. 
  2. Reaching back in your memory, find the predominate feeling that really captures the essence of the experience. 
  3. Find a dissimilar example of that feeling that will connect to your intended listener and share. 

Signs of Success:

  • Greater energy – When someone is paying attention you feel it. 
  • Greater engagement – Active listening and/or sparked conversation. 
  • Bonus Success - The listener tells you a funny and slightly embarrassing story in return. Bingo! 

Opps, you missed

If you don’t feel energy or that you evoked the experience you intended, scan for and remove obstacles to communication and rethink the context created with your choice of metaphor.  Oh, and of course, try again.

The Benefit: 

  • Learning how to consciously evoke an experience in another person makes you easy to understand and therefore easy to be with. 
  • Controlling how you are heard is only half the equation, by articulating your message you also control how you are understood, too. 
  • Connecting your experiences and wisdom to your children or other people for whom you care creates a bond of unspoken rapport and trust. 

Related Article: Communication Part 5 - Pivotal Moments, Value is in Real-Time, Good Deed Frustration, Edgy Rocks!, Nice

Related Tip:  Listening - What Gets in the Way, Trust, Make Sense



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