How can I practice mindful communication in the workplace?

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In a fast-paced world like the one we live in, communicating and engaging meaningfully with the people in front of you can be a massive challenge. In this context, mindful communication can be a life and career-changer.

To communicate mindfully is to listen without distraction, prevent emotion-fuelled reactions and responses, refrain from making judgments or assuming things are black and white, and be empathetic to whatever the other person is experiencing.

If we were to communicate this way in the workplace, imagine how many petty conflicts could be avoided or how many decisions could be made with greater precision? In our post, we explore how you can practise mindful communication in the workplace.

 

Start by being more mindful

Mindfulness, itself, is very important for mindful communication - you need to be aware of who you are, what your values, beliefs and perceptions are before you can communicate effectively.

This allows you to acknowledge how you react to certain things and then control yourself from reacting that way in the face of certain situations or stimuli. This can improve the quality and outcomes of your workplace conversations.

Mindfulness is a trait that’s the starting point of many other essential qualities in the modern workplace. This also applies to meaningful engagement with your colleagues - removed from yourself and your ego, you’re free to build more meaningful relationships.

 

Really listen to what the other person has to say

It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re listening to what the other person has to say but how much do we really listen - i.e. listen without judgments or biases?

While this sounds impossible, mindful communication is a practice you can cultivate with greater internal mindfulness, discipline, and empathy. Reserve your judgments and mindfully, purposefully and non-judgmentally listen to what the other person has to say.

Especially if you’re the manager of a team or a member in a dynamic group, this trait can help you connect with your colleagues better and drive them towards more desirable personal and organisational outcomes.

 

Try not to be judgmental

If you think about it, we make value judgments about most things in life - the rain is bad (or good), a chatty colleague is bad or that a day at work without any urgent deadlines is good.

When we make value judgments like these ones - especially those in reaction to something someone is saying - we are already shifting our minds, decisions, and beliefs in a certain direction, often without any real basis.

Judgments are formed from our experiences, upbringing, values and many other things. Inherently, they condemn us to a certain line of thinking.

By reigning in this aspect of communication, you will find that you are able to engage with the other person more meaningfully and be more empathetic. This, in turn, can win you powerful allies and imbue you with one of the most essential leadership skills.

 

Be completely present in the moment

Absentmindedness is one of the biggest challenges for mindful communication, simply because it renders you incapable of being fully present.

When you’re not fully present in your reality, you’re likely to be pondering something, ruminating or reminiscing, which means that you may miss important cues - a subtle behaviour, a tone of voice or phrase that can clue you in on something important the person you’re speaking with is trying to tell you.

Absentmindedness is the complete antithesis to mindful communication.

 

Conversations at work aren’t competitions - get over your need to be right or have your way

This is a tendency easy to fall prey to at work, especially if your culture is competitive to begin with. Even as a leader, this tendency is particularly strong, especially because we’re raised to believe that admitting you’re wrong is a sign of weakness.

When you have conversations at work, especially with people you find it difficult to work with, try avoiding perceiving your conversation as a battleground. Be mindful of your own insecurities when you communicate with people.

 

Practise mindful communication at work with greater effect and purpose

Mindful communication is a gift that keeps on giving.

If you’re able to harness your awareness and discipline and extend outside yourself to communicate more meaningfully, you will find that you’re able to work together as a team with greater effect and enjoy genuine connections with the people you work with.

For mindfulness resources that will help you get on the track to mindful communication, dive into Awakened Mind’s tools for businesses