Last weekend brought the first Father’s Day without my dad. I couldn’t help thinking about how much I miss his wise and constant advice and how he showed his unconditional love for me. I miss him dearly, but he lives on in some of the communication lessons I learned from how he lived his life. Here are my top three.
1. Approach life with humor.
My dad always had a joke to share. He never went long without saying something funny and my sense of humor and love of laughter comes from him. One of my favorite jokes he regularly shared was saying: You’re as welcome as hair in butter.
I learned from him how important it is to not take yourself too seriously. Humor boosts emotional connection. It’s also an effective way to relieve tension. Sharing a laugh can often be the bridge you need to successfully communicate with someone. Just remember to stay workplace appropriate.
2. Show appreciation.
Every time I answered the phone when my dad called he would say This is your father who loves you very much. It always made me smile. It was only recently that I learned from my kids that he started calls with them that way too. He loved them and told them every chance he got. What a gift.
The power of appreciation can not be underestimated. People who feel appreciated will respond and perform better. Try learning a skill I call purposeful appreciation. It can be one of the most powerful communication tools you can have.
3. Be authentic.
We learn from people we believe follow the rules they set. My dad was authentic, for good and for bad. He apologized when necessary. But most of all, he always tried to do the right thing.
Authentic people build trust. They can motivate others, manage conflict, are confident, and get results. They know their strengths and work to them. One of the ways you can be a more authentic communicator is to pay attention to the difference between what you say and what you portray. Be aware of your body language and your initial responses to situations. Are you judgmental? Do you listen well? Work on what you don’t like about your communication style and embrace what you do well.
If what you’re doing is working, do more of it. It’s it not, stop doing it and try something else. ~ Jerry Everitt (aka dad).
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift – all are available on Amazon.com. To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit cornerstone-ct.com.
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