Ever had someone talking AT you? You know what I mean – someone going on and on and on, and you’re either not wanting to listen, the topic is irrelevant to you, or it’s someone higher up the ladder telling you things you’d rather not hear. How did you feel about that? How would you have wanted the person to have approached you? How would you have wanted to be spoken to?
Now, think about all the times when YOU talked AT someone else. How did they respond? Did they need to hear what you had to tell them, or did you just have the need to vent? How did your relationship with them progress after that? Did they still look forward to engaging with you, or have they been trying to avoid you ever since? Did they spread unflattering comments about you?
Decide! Is what you have to say true, right and just? How would it benefit the person to whom you are about to say it? This includes a stern rebuke, by the way, not everything we say needs to be coated thickly with saccharine (if you do need to coat it, use chocolate). When you’ve got a message which is true, right and just, and the person about to receive your message is going to benefit from it, then go ahead and speak life! That means speaking comfort, encouragement, empowerment or whatever we discern that person needs at that particular moment. It means suggesting courses of action other than what that person is currently contemplating. It’s presenting possibilities he might never have considered before.
Many of us have been at the receiving end of being talked at because the person talking at us had to “communicate the message.” Have we been guilty of this when “disseminating messages” to our own people? Time to stop talking at people. Start talking to them. Experience engagement rising!