Have you ever left a conversation in which two conflicting points were made, leaving you unsure of which one was ‘right’? Without clarity in a conversation, we often struggle to understand exactly what someone is saying because what is said is not necessarily what is meant.
Knowing whether your words are being heard and understood can be challenging. If we lack clarity in our conversations, we are likely not communicating effectively, even though we may think we are.
The great news is that there are ways to improve your clarity from a holistic perspective. These can be applied to your daily interactions to create notable differences in your personal and professional relationships.
According to the Wholebeing Institute, when trying to achieve happiness, health, and well-being, humans tend to focus on only one area of their lives, assuming the rest will fall into place. The issue with this is that you must look at your entire self to gain the clarity necessary to change your behavior and communication.
The Wholebeing Approach focuses on the five macro levels of your life: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, and Emotional, or SPIRE. At its most basic form, SPIRE is:
Spiritual – Leading a meaningful life and mindfully savoring the present.
Physical – Caring for the body and tapping into the mind/body connection.
Intellectual – Engaging in deep learning and being open to new experiences.
Relational – Nurturing a constructive relationship with the self and others.
Emotional – Feeling all of our emotions and reaching toward positive resilience.
This approach encourages you to look at each level of your life and to get to know your whole being. Doing so will give you the clarity needed to make effective life changes and implement the proper tools to accomplish your goals.
Having clarity in a conversation means eliminating all possibilities of confusion and miscommunication. Not communicating clearly creates ineffective communication, which leads to words being misunderstood and misinterpreted. Simply put, a lack of clarity in the conversation is saying one thing but meaning another.
When you are clear about your needs, wants, desires, expectations, and so on, it leaves no room for misinterpretation. You can feel confident that you have expressed yourself in a way your audience should understand. This is key to understanding why clarity and the wholebeing approach perfectly complement each other.
You may not know why you find something someone said to you upsetting, which could cause you to react harshly at the time and later regret it. You know your reaction to what was said wasn’t positive and that you didn’t like what the person said or how they communicated it, but you can’t figure out why.
The wholebeing approach helps you determine the why. It creates a deeper understanding of the self – establishing the foundation needed to communicate clearly. Using this approach will help you to be self-aware and address underlying issues yet to be resolved. When you are in tune with each area of your life (SPIRE), you are confident about what you want and need and understand how to work towards it. This leads to better communication because you can explain why – putting words to feelings.
Perhaps you remember when someone in your past used a term in a negative context to describe you. Now when someone else uses that word, you get upset. By taking the time to reflect on the initial interaction, you will realize it’s a trigger. Next, you can clearly explain why you were upset. Using the SPIRE approach, you can begin to uncover and understand your triggers, learning to heal from them using a holistic perspective.
Words have power. Put them together, and you begin to influence the thinking, feelings, and actions of others.
If you lack clarity in your communication, you could inadvertently offend someone, confuse them, or lose their interest or respect completely. It’s crucial to reflect on what you’re saying and how you are saying it. The tone, body language, and other nuances will be interpreted differently depending on the person.
To get the results you want, you must understand what you intend to say, why you are saying it, and use appropriate words and tone to communicate clearly. The SPIRE approach will help you consider multiple perspectives, contexts, and preconceived notions. It will help you better communicate from a place of truth and strengthen the connection to self.
Here are a few different ways you can improve the clarity of your communication:
- Avoid information overload. Not everyone processes verbal information as quickly as others. Be mindful of what you are trying to communicate and how complex it is; for easy digesting, break it down into smaller parts. Try using universally understood examples to convey complex ideas.
- Keep it simple. Use plain language when you can. Everyone has their own communication style. The simpler yours is, the more likely the majority of people will understand you. It’s great if you have a large vocabulary but consider who you are speaking to and put your ideas and thoughts into simpler terms. This is especially true if your industry has many acronyms and jargon that only those in the field would understand.
- Slow down. The pace is essential when you’re speaking. The listener needs time to process the information to understand and respond appropriately. Remember to pause between phrases, fully annunciate words and phrases, and make eye contact with your listener – you may pick up on non-verbal cues that you are speaking too fast.
If you’d like to learn more about the wholebeing approach to clarity in the conversation and how you can personally improve your clarity when communicating, contact me.