The impact of ‘mindfulness’ on communications

Drop of waterI borrowed a book on ‘mindfulness’ from a friend.

Sometime later she asked me whether I’d enjoyed it. I had meant to read it but was so busy I just didn’t have the time.

The irony of the situation hadn’t escaped me, as the point about mindfulness is finding the time to become consciously aware of your thoughts and feelings. I had effectively failed the first test.

Mindfulness has been practiced by Buddhist monks in the East for the last 2,500 years but it is now big in the West too. It is very likely that you know someone that has undertaken a short course in mindfulness.

Google TrendJust look at the graph here from Google Trends and you’ll see the phenomenal increase of ‘mindfulness’ as a Google search term since 2004.

If further evidence was needed of the rising popularity of mindfulness, last week polling company YouGov revealed research which showed public support for mindfulness being provided as therapy on the National Health Service. The results can be seen here.

Mindfulness on the NHSSo what is mindfulness?

The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as: “The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something” and “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

This is all very well, but how does mindfulness help you become better at communicating, and how could it be useful in a corporate context?

Here are three areas it can be put to use. In each case this could apply to a one-to-one conversation as well as to a corporate one-to-many, for example in a speech.

1. Be present in conversation: by being totally present in the moment you become present in the conversation. You are better able to develop rapport and connect with your audience.

2. Be a better listener: you are not preoccupied with your message, what your next point is, or what question you will ask next. You have compassion for your audience and you are just listening.

3. Find your authentic voice: find the voice that is really you – the positive one – not the voice driven by ego, fear and insecurity. You are able to choose and say the words you want to say, and have the impact you desire.

Yes, applying mindfulness techniques can help you become a better communicator.

It helps you to be present in the moment that comes and goes in the blink of an eye,  but to be ready for it takes practice.

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