Compassionate Communication -
the conversation that heals
We're all familiar with print ads and infomercials introducing communication experts who promise everyone the ability to walk into a room full of strangers and talk to anyone with total confidence and flair. People enroll in these types of expensive communication classes for a variety of reasons. Most hope to become polished conversationalists. In fact, a recent study of Stanford University MBA graduate students reported that the ability to be comfortable and confident when talking to anybody was the major factor in predicting an individual's success in business. In this survey "small talk," "instant rapport" and good "first impressions" out-ranked good grades and hard work as a success indicator.
While these abilities are valuable to cultivate, especially in the market place of our work-a-day lives, there are also deeper aspects of communication that require our attention and dedication as well. Compassionate Communication - The Conversation That Heals focuses attention on the powerful subtleties of empowering vocabulary, conscious intention and listening skills used in personal and business conversations. It addresses the inadequacies of poor communication skills and creates a greater awareness of one's speaking and listening patterns.
An article in the February issue of The Nation speaks of the growing importance of developing a style and type of communication that doesn't simply "wow" people when we enter a room, but rather insures us of being listened to while listening to others. The statistics in the article suggest that developing communication skills like the ones taught in Compassionate Communication is becoming more a matter of necessity than choice. Researchers are increasingly finding that one big reason treatments don't work - or aren't prescribed at all - is because of problems in the way doctors and patients communicate. Or, more precisely, fail to communicate.
Doctors typically will listen to a patient's "opening statement" little more than 23.1 seconds before changing the subject or "redirecting" the talk. (1999 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association) Yet it's important for your doctor to fully grasp what's bothering you. And when communication fails, the results can be disastrous. Last year the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that some 7,000 patients die every year because of medication errors and that medical errors in hospitals cause between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths every year.
Studies show that doctors remember best the cases of assertive patients, and their medical outcomes are likely to be better. "When you get patients to be more engaged in a visit, they do better in terms of satisfaction, understanding and recall of doctor's instructions," says Johns Hopkins University behavior scientist Debra Roter. "Moreover," she adds, "there is also a reduction in markers for diseases such as high blood pressure."
Although it seems extreme to think that our failure to communicate or our poor communication styles could result in the compromise of our health care or the care of our loved ones, we've all been adversely affected by sloppy, unsatisfactory communication at one time or another. It's the conversations that leave us feeling incomplete, hurt, misunderstood, upset, and confused.
While The Nation article goes on to point out various ways that patients can make better, more efficient use of their 23.1 seconds, it never addresses the heart of the communication dilemma. The fact remains, that communication in today's world of computer technology, answering machines, less and less personal service and human contact, frantically paced lives and highly pressured work schedules requires a concentrated effort on everyone's part to speak more accurately and succinctly and to learn to listen to what people are saying, not to simply hear what they're saying.
Compassionate Communication - The Conversation That Heals elevates communication to the level of a healing art. It is designed to form new patterns of communication that contain the ability to transform every conversation into an opportunity for healing. These patterns convey a feeling of safety, power and comfort that is unique in today's busy and ever-changing world. Compassionate Communication creates skillful communicators who use tools and techniques gleaned from time-tested oral tradition and modern scientific research to bring greater self-awareness, clarity and compassion into their own lives and the lives of the people they converse with.
Skillful communicators convey their thoughts and feelings with an authentic, compassionate voice of self-authority. They understand the power of the spoken word and the value of listening. These communicators create the space to empower, value and acknowledge those who listen, and to heal those who speak.
If this is not typical of the response you elicit in your conversation, it's time to rethink your communication skills and priorities.
Moonfire Meeting House
1691 County Rd. 39
Southampton, New York 11968
phone / fax 631-287-9000