I talk to a lot of women. Women who get frustrated with how their interactions with others go – both romantic and non-romantic. They often want to know what words to use to convey what they actually want to convey.
But guess what the most important secret is?
It’s not about the words.
Sometimes I’m very precise with my language, sometimes I’m very loose. And it usually doesn’t matter at all.
How is that possible?
Think for a moment about a pianist. In playing a particular piece of music, the pianist has in mind which keys she would like to play. And when she strokes a key that isn’t part of what she intended, you can hear the “off”-ness of it. You immediately know it’s wrong.
As the listener, you cringe. And then all kinds of things happen. If the pianist does this enough times in any particular performance, they probably lose a ton of credibility with you as a performer. It’s also likely an unpleasant experience – one you perhaps don’t wish to repeat.
So you’re saying I should never fuck up when I play the piano?
Nope, not at all. In fact, everyone screws up. Everyone has off days. (Remember that pro tip about being human? Let’s all let ourselves off the hook every once in a while.)
But, you can certainly take a few lessons from a pianist to improve your communication.
Do it how the pianists do it.
(The word “pianist” is funny to me. At this point, I’m just trying to see how many times I can type it in this article.)
They know the music so deeply that they feel it in their bones.
People who truly love playing the piano don’t wait for an audience to do it. They also don’t wait for it to be perfect. They play in front of anyone who will listen. They hum the music when they’re in line at the grocery store. They air-piano without even noticing. The music oozes out of them whether there’s a piano in the vicinity or not.
When they feel the music in their bones, there is no “off”-ness to it. When “off”-ness appears, it points to a place where something isn’t feeling quite right. It indicates a place in the music where they need to practice, and smooth it out. (This isn’t about rote memorization, by the way. This is about working through the ways and places that their fingers need to develop the muscle memory, or to figure out how something could feel better.)
So the secret to becoming a better communicator without changing a thing about the words you use?
Connect to the feeling behind the words.
Connect to how you feel about the words. If there is anything off there, whoever you’re communicating with can feel it. They will likely not be able to put a finger on it, but something won’t feel right.
They may get tired of hearing from you.
They may not believe you.
They won’t be moved enough by what you’re saying to do anything about it.
If you want better connections, you have to be connected to yourself.
If you’ve been trying to find more connection and have been frustrated at the way people are responding to you (or not responding to you at all), ask yourself if the delivery of your words matches the way you truly feel. (We all bluff ourselves at some point, but being able to call yourself on whether it’s true is really powerful stuff.)
Ooh, I know, let’s play a fun game!
Want to check whether your words match how you feel? Leave me a comment below and we’ll schedule a quick call where you can talk about whatever you want, and I’ll give you my take on whether it “feels” true. (Of course, I won’t just leave you hanging – if it’s not, I’ll help you get in touch with the real thing.)