Leaders are often very adept at directing a conversation, though they can usually benefit from more practice with bottom lining and interrupting. They can also miss out completely on an important component of direct communication – messaging.
Messaging is a powerful way of tapping into someone’s greatness and helping them see it. It’s stepping away from the content of a conversation and honing in on the person’s strengths and qualities that are being expressed at that moment.
“Wow,” you might say as you listen to someone describe their actions in a particular situation, “You are really someone of integrity.”
The other person probably doesn’t get this truth about themselves. Once they do, they’ll be able to move forward in a whole new way. My coach, for example, had to keep drilling into me that being a nice guy was an asset. I had a tape playing inside my head that said, “Nice guys finish last.” It took a lot of repetition to overpower that.
In her book Time to Think, Nancy Kline asserts that people need genuine praise and acknowledgment to think more effectively, and that for every piece of negative feedback we need five positive ones, just to level the playing field of negative thoughts from our minds.
Sadly, most of us rarely receive any near that amount of positive acknowledgments in our ordinary conversations.
As a form of direct communication, messaging needs to come out of genuine listening so that your statement is really applicable to the person. As well, in order for your message to sink in, there needs to be an authentic relationship of trust in place.
Imagine being interrupted so that someone could tell you how great you are. How would you feel about that conversation?