Communication Acrobatics

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If you are a leader, manager, coach or parent, you know too well your daily demands include the never ending responsibility to “communicate effectively”. Instructing, directing, motivating, empathising, listening, disciplining, inspiring, teaching, supporting, guiding, yes-ing, no-ing, to name just a few.

And if that is not enough, life now demands you fulfill these communication acrobatics real-time, in person, by phone, through video, using emails, sending SMS messages, writing articles and books, creating PowerPoint or other “exciting” presentations, and sometimes all at the same time!

  • How can you as a leader, manager, mum or dad actually get to this level of flexibility and effectiveness in your communication?
  • What are the most effective models and skills you can use to speak from your heart, with passion and truth and still get your message across?
  • What is effective communication? How do you know when you or others are achieving it?

Know thy Self

Before you fully share your ideas and opinions with others, first you explore them within yourself. To do so, at some stage you learn to dialogue within yourself, questioning and listening as you explore your inner world. You discover what you truly think, feel, understand and your personal point of view – your beliefs, values, and philosophies.

In many cultures, this skill called self-reflexive consciousness, is cultivated as you are a young child, as you are encouraged to individuate and to have your personal opinion. More often though, this ability is undeveloped and most of us need to revisit and master this critical skill.

This is your ability to step back from what you are attending to out there in the world, and to hear and see your own thoughts and feelings about your experience, and then to become aware of the thoughts and feelings you have in the back of your mind, about your original thoughts and feelings. Daniel Goleman calls this “emotional intelligence”.

Advanced Communication Principles

With more than 21 principles widely accepted as “the fundamentals” to effective communication (NLP/NS), where do you start on your pathway to communication mastery?

If you have ever scratched your head, perked an eye brow, and wondered ‘how the heck did you get that out of what I just said’, this one is for you.

Principle Number 1 – The meaning of communication is the response you get…

Meaning is not communicated by specific words, pictures, graphs, or gestures. Nor is meaning a shared reality. Meaning is created individually by our personal memories, references, beliefs, and the other 64 different filters we use to delete, distort, and generalise the information we each take in through sight, sounds, taste, touch, smell, intuition, etc.

Specific words, gestures etc that you may use, are likely to have subtle or even grossly different associations, memories and therefore different meaning, than you yourself may have intended to communicate.

Pondering that…

Principle Number 2 – The Law of Requisite Variety – the element (person) with the most flexibility will have most influence within a system.

Have you ever wondered how that one particular person (you know who they are) can seem to sway others to agree with them? Their opinion appears to have more weight than others, or they simply (damn it!) always get what they want.

Taking the fundamentals from Principle number one; if you want to communicate to be understood, you are going to need a lot of flexibility and creativity to “get through” to many different people aren’t you?

The more adaptability you have in your listening, questioning, relating, thinking, creating etc, will allow you many more options and pathways for connecting and reaching diverse individuals. You can more easily identify how others process information and match your style to theirs.

If you have a rigid communication style, you will feel restricted and limited in how you can express your thoughts, feelings and ideas, and therefore you are restricted to whom you can influence.

Embracing and Facilitating Change

In our current time, change is more common and assured than most other things in your life. Statistics show that you will have three or more career changes over a lifetime, 50% of the populations in Australia and the USA have been married and divorced, and most people realise their computer software, mobile phones etc are obsolete within 18 months after purchase, sometimes sooner…

Given the complexity of our lives and how much change we will experience, becoming a change embracer and learning how to lead and navigate change in our own lives, the companies and families we are leading, is it really any wonder that facilitating change is now considered a fundamental life skill.

Based on The Axes of Change Model (Duval/Hall 2003) facilitating change requires nine different communication styles, as you navigate four stages of change. Each stage of change operates from a polarity and demands a different style of communication; for example, during the stage of motivating change, the communication style required is of awakening; that is, inspiring a vision of the future, or perhaps a style of challenging yourself or another to confront reality.

For more visit

Michael Hall and Michelle Duval

Dr L. Michael Hall is a modeler of human excellence and self-actualization. Since 1992 Michael has focused on modeling “the highest and best in human experiences.” This modeling focus arose first from his studies of NLP and later in his co-development of Neuro-Semantics, and the re-discovery of Maslow’s original modeling of self-actualizing men and women. Michelle Duval is a pioneer into new forms of learning, Michelle helped found the field of professional coaching in Australia in 1997 and became a leading voice forging developmental and transformational coaching worldwide. She has coached thousands of individuals worldwide and has been featured in two books recognising ‘the world’s most successful coaches’. Michelle is the founder of Equilibrio, Actualise Daily, Excelerate Coach Mentoring, and Fingeprint4Success. Together they have have co-authored two international handbooks on coaching and co-developed The Meta-Coach Training System, an advanced coaching methodology used by professional coaches, while also training and certifying executive, business and personal coaches in more than 35 countries. In 2004 Michelle and Michael co-founded the International Meta-Coach Foundation (MCF) for research and accountability for the field to develop into a profession.

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