Communication that Empowers
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they made you feel good about yourself throughout the whole conversation? I’m talking genuinely made you feel good, important, valued and capable. Not the shallow, “cute outfit, I like your hair, great work today, you did good” type of stuff, but where they point out who you are and why you are exceptional.
What if in communication we all aimed to point out other’s strengths? What if it was common practice in conversations to build up one another, rather than tear each other down?
With the use of Motivational Interviewing, all of us at IFIOC believe we can communicate more efficiently and meaningfully. Motivational Interviewing is an evidence based tool with a central focus for being efficient and effective during communication. This communication method trains individuals to be less ego centered in their communication and more focused on the other persons goals, strengths and feelings. This in turn leads to more connection, more trust and more empowerment. Now wouldn’t you like to have that impact each time you communicate?!?
So let’s talk about what what it means to pull out people’s strengths during conversation in a genuine and thoughtful way.
Let’s use an example of a teacher and a student. As you read this, try and figure out what the student’s strengths are for yourself as they speak. When you have deep, genuine relationships it is much easier to pull out people’s strengths, but even a hypothetical situation, we can start to draw our mind towards looking for the good.
Student: “Hi Miss Smith. I’m trying to complete this assignment on time but I am struggling. My mom said I should talk to you. I know my grades haven’t been the best in the past, but I’m trying to change things. Would you mind helping me a bit?”
Teacher: “Hi Robbie, of course, I’d be happy to help you. It’s clear you really are taking this seriously and want to excel moving forward; taking initiative is a great life skill. You’re really trying to move forward in a positive way, and I’m always happy to help. Where would you like to start?”
Do you see how the teacher is affirming, empowering and building confidence in Robbie all at once with some serious affirmations? Recognizing that the student wants to excel, they are building great life skills, they take initiative, they are trying to move forward in a positive direction. These are ALL things that Robbie never said, but if you are looking for the positive in what Robbie is trying to do, you can see that he IS trying to get better, he IS trying to take initiative and he is changing.
In a world where it is often easy to recognize when people or moments are less than, Motivational Interviewing challenges us to change the way we communicate, looking for a person’s strengths and being strategic with our genuine affirmations, it could change a person’s day or their life.
Is this the kind of impact you want to make on a daily basis? It is possible.
Next time you are talking with someone that doesn’t seem to be meeting your expectations, whether it’s a family member, friend, loved one, spouse or coworker, try to remember their strengths and look for the changes they are trying to make. The more we look for the positive in people, the more we will start to see it everywhere and the easier it will be to communicate.