Yesterday I had a strange dream. I was sitting in a big hotel ballroom filled with men and women, all seated against the wall. A dark-haired, handsome man was walking around, very sure of himself. He had probably just given a speech and was walking slowly and deliberately. Suddenly, all of us who were seated realized what he was doing. He was walking and checking out the women, so that he can pick one for himself!
I could sense the indignation rise in all of us who were present. Yet nobody said a word. Nobody stood up, nobody left, nobody commented with their neighbor. All of us, men and women, remained seated, too afraid to move or say anything. Then I had an idea. I quickly took a large thin piece of fabric, a shal, and threw it over my head and body. I essentially covered myself in protest. He could not see me: I refused to participate. I could not see the reactions of the others, but I knew what they were thinking as they looked at me. The reaction would come quickly. I might be punished for such boldness. I did not know, in that dream, what country or century I was in. As I waited… I woke up, relieved.
No need for words
This dream serves to remind me of two things related to communication. One is, that even if we live in a free, democratic world, we often find ourselves, at the workplace, in situations that resemble my dream. Times when we witness an injustice and we know, deep inside, that we should speak up. Of course, at the workplace, both men and women will gossip their heart away about what the boss or a difficult colleague said or did. But they will rarely, if ever, say anything to the perpetrator of the injustice. People are afraid to lose their job, to miss out on their promotion or simply, to lose face.
But, we don’t always have to say something. Our actions DO speak louder than our words. The world is full of people who never made great speeches, or wrote letters. They ACTED upon things, in the right time and at the right place.
Assertive people and those who are not
For us, assertive people, our boldness is often a pain. It gets us in a myriad of tricky situations. We lose jobs and friends more frequently because of our tongue. To be better communicators, we, the assertive and outspoken ones, should remember to listen more, reflect more and speak less. The best assertiveness is the one which can use as little words as needed. It needs to be just the right amount of salt to make the point. Not a pinch more.
The others, the people who are too afraid to speak up, or who hide behind their unassertiveness, you may feel more at ease with the advent of social media. But in the end, it is the "here and now" where your actions will communicate the most. When you cannot find the words, use the actions. Speak up, in whichever way you can.
If you want to become a better communicator, why not hire a communication coach? Drop me a line at mt(at) target-talk.com