The Meaning of Any Communication. . .

Setting: 23rd floor apartment, Battery Park City, NYC

The View: The Hudson RiverVerrazano Narrows Bridge and the Statue of Liberty

This beautiful vista was the backdrop for a series of meetings I attended back in the late ’90’s and until just a few days before 9/11/2001.  I was a freshly minted M.A. in a field of psychology and organizational development just testing my wings at high level coaching in the financial center of the world.  It was heady stuff and I realized I had so much to learn, on the fly.

Kathryn Williams led the meetings.  She is a clinical psychologist who made a name for herself as an executive coach, helping high level leaders deal with the myriad of challenges they face.  Kathryn is also an accomplished NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) practitioner.  One of the key tenets of NLP has to do with communication, both verbal and visual.  How a message is delivered is sometimes more powerful than the message itself.

I was often guilty of looking out the windows during these sessions because I’d never seen the city from that vantage.  In the right light, it was magical.

Kathryn was talking as I snuck a peek at the Statue of Liberty in the fading light, but I heard her say: “The meaning of any communication is the response I get.”  I stopped in my tracks.  I had certainly never thought such a thing.  My communication was flung out into the world without much thought.  Suddenly it struck me–there are enormous consequences to my words and actions, both for good and for ill, AND those consequences can be readily assessed by the response I get from the object/person of my communication.

From that time on I carefully observed people with whom I was communicating to see if I could discern how they were reacting to my words and body language.  Over the years I’ve become more astute at interpreting others’ responses.  I’ve learned, imperfectly and regularly, that the more aligned my words are to my motivation (what I’m saying and why I’m saying it), the more authentic I am and the more positively others respond.


About MentorBoom

It's been the blessing of my life to receive the teaching and friendship of some extraordinary people. I want that wisdom to outlive me by sharing it with others. MentorBoom, is intended to do that and to help us all find ways to live more satisfying and fulfilling lives.
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