In today’s world, communication is the key to success. Whether in business, politics, or personal relationships, we rely on communication to get our point across and reach our goals. But there is a vast difference between simply communicating with someone and engaging in conscious communication. Dr. Kara Nance, Communication and Relational Coach at KaraNanceMD.com and medical doctor/CEO of WellessenceMD works with people who want to live happier, healthier lives, tells us what conscious communication is and how it works.
What is Conscious Communication?
Conscious communication requires us to learn how to be present to the way we communicate with others. It’s about understanding that words have power and using them thoughtfully. When communicating consciously, you are intentional with your language, considering how others will receive your chosen words. You also strive for clarity to avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
The Benefits of Conscious Communication
When practiced mindfully, conscious communication has a wide range of benefits for individuals and businesses. For starters, when utilized consistently within a business setting, it can foster an environment of trust and understanding that leads to more productive collaborations between coworkers. On an individual level, consciously communicating can help build stronger relationships with family members, friends, colleagues—even strangers! Finally, by actively listening and considering another person’s perspective during conversations, we can gain valuable insights into their values and beliefs, which can be used to better tailor our communications for maximum impact.
An ongoing study by Harvard reveals that the key to a happier life lies within the quality of our relationships. “Essentially, conscious communication is all about developing warmer relationships. This, in turn, increases our feelings of health and happiness,” says Nance.
A Consciousness of Interconnection
“To develop healthier relationships and effectively harness conscious communication skills, we must first move from a state of independence to one of interdependence,” explains Nance. When we are in a state of independence, we separate ourselves from others. Others are seen as objects to help us get things done. When we are in a state of interdependence, we understand that we are part of a system and that what we do and say impacts others.
“Essentially, we are aiming to create a quality of connection where people give generously to each other with the intention of everybody’s needs being met,” states Nance. This consciousness of interconnection is the foundation on which conscious communication is built.
How to Improve Your Conscious Communication Skills
The first step in improving your conscious communication skills is understanding how you communicate. For example, do you tend to talk more than you listen? Are your conversations often one-sided? Are you comfortable asking questions or engaging in active dialogue? Understanding how you typically communicate can help you identify areas where improvement is needed.
Next, practice active listening, focusing on what the other person is saying without interruption or judgment. Ask open-ended questions, paraphrase what was just said to ensure understanding, and focus on being present rather than responding immediately. When it comes time for you to speak, be mindful of your chosen words and use language that encourages collaboration and respect. Finally, ensure that both parties are heard before coming to a resolution or decision.
Conscious communication isn’t about memorizing rules for conversation; it’s about being mindful and intentional with our words—in both our personal and professional lives. Developing strong conscious communication skills takes practice, but it’s worth the effort because it ultimately leads to greater understanding between people, improved problem-solving abilities, stronger relationships, increased efficiency—and ultimately, better results for everyone involved.