Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What sailing taught me about communication!

Communication and Sailing have something in common? Other than the fact people talk to one another and call out directions while on a boat? 

Believe it or not, there are quite a few things we can learn about communication and courageous dialogue from sailing.

When you are sailing, you must always know your shoreline, and where you are intending to go, your course. Similarly in communication, you must also know your shoreline, the goal for the communication, and where you hope to get to. That does NOT mean coming into the dialogue with an answer you try and lead people to but rather a goal of resolution, or a move forward plan, or a goal to be heard, or a goal to understand your client's needs. Know your shoreline.

Awe well, when you are sailing, whether can change in a blink of an eye, the same is true for communication. In one second the conversation can go off course, get heated and emotional or even end. You must become exquisite at understanding and reading the energy in the conversation and what is not being said (non verbal communication). These serve as two of a handful of warning signs that something is changing in the dialogue.

When the weather changes and the sailing gets rough, fear can set in. Fear changes how you respond/react, how you process what is happening, the choices you make to manage the situation, and ultimately what happens next. Typically a fear based response or approach to communication doesn't lend itself to resolution...instead fear based statements build defensiveness and trigger the survival instincts which cause people to say things they regret later. As Shawne Duperon, media expert, says "When knowledge goes up, fear goes down." You can manage your fear by being prepared and skilled. When you manage your own fear, the anxiety levels in those around you will also decrease.

And in sailing when the sailboat overturns, you must right the boat. The same is true in dialogue. When a conversation goes off course, you say something hurtful or offensive, or the conversation gets turned upside down or loses it shoreline, you must right the conversation. This can happen through an authentic sincere apology, a question of curiosity to understand what just happened, or a statement to respectfully get the conversation righted and back on course. The three actions that help you stay on course are: apologies, forgiveness (or self and others), and a move forward commitment and statement of hope.

These were some of the many tips I provided on a Tele Seminar about Courageous Dialogue and Conscious Communication, I was interviewed by Jenn August on the Wealthy Warrior Mindset series. You can access these free recordings by registering at:

To access your free Courageous Dialogue ebook ( a gift from me to you) go to:

Until next time.... keep your communication sailing smooth

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