Communication As An Act Of Service

Posted by Birju Pandya on Nov 23, 2010
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As I continue along the path of giving, I’m learning of the constant opportunity to act from a space of service.  A recent personal insight in this space is how communicating with an intention to serve leads to markedly different behaviors.  Some examples below…

 

 Talking

+ Share only to the extent that its genuinely other-centric (not to bolster one's own ego).

Sharing from a perspective of ‘bridge building’ to ensure that person-to-person connection, along with authentic adherence to one’s values, is of utmost importance (e.g., ‘proving’ that one is right is useless if you lose the connection along the way)

Speaking consciously so as to not arouse fear, desire, anger in the other person as these sensations take others off their balance

Summarizing thoughts succinctly so as not to force the other to decipher the meaning of one’s thought (e.g., starting with the point and then elaborating as much as the listener wants)

Incorporating pauses into one’s speech to allow for others to jump in and co-create if there is a desire

 

Listening

Approaching the experience without a personal agenda (e.g., not thinking of a response when listening)

Maintaining consistent eye contact and mirroring body positioning

Asking questions geared towards building bridges and helping others gain personal insights (e.g., open-ended questions coming from a place of not knowing the answers)

Creating space with silence during the conversation (e.g., not speaking the second another is finished so others feel more deeply heard)

 

Common knowledge to some, but in many ways new to me.  It’s also worth mentioning that I’m only beginning to learn this and have a long way to go!

In this service process, it’s important to not put the cart before the horse.  The behaviors themselves are simply manifestations of the inner desire to serve.  Behaviors without the intention may fool people for a while, but in the end the inner motives are discovered (not to mention that this leads to unhappiness for the practitioner).

The funny thing is, as these behaviors come out from intention, more often than not, they are reciprocated.  What we end up with is true communication - no giving or receiving but instead sharing at the deepest level.

So, the key to it all is to continue cultivating and deepening the intention to serve in a very earnest way.  As that continues, more and more ‘external manifestations’ (like communication style) happen, but they are merely flowers born of the roots, not the roots themselves.

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Comments (6)

  • rahul wrote ...

    Great guidelines and excellent distillations, Birju. There's beauty to serving by communicating how to use communication as service :-)

  • Neha wrote ...

    So well summed up :)

  • aumatma wrote ...

    thanks B! Awesome and insightful. :)

  • Parth wrote ...

    Thanks B for your thoughts regarding communication...as I read this, the underlying current that jumped out at me was the value of "being present". In being present creates a space void of the past (assumption driven) and future (agenda driven), giving way for listening to the subtext behind the communication. One of the practices that has so useful for me has been listening for the "commitment in the background of someone's speaking".

    This has been especially useful in situations of tension, when someone is using charged language in expressing themselves (ie. raising their voice, becoming withdrawn, etc). Mired in their experience may be hiding a commitment to connect and be heard and a concern that their experience is not being acknowledged - Listening "Creating space with silence" as you eloquently put it, provides the opening for understanding.

    In sharing your post, I feel your deep commitment to connecting with people in your own life and a commitment to inspiring others through the sharing of your insights.

    Thank you brother for who you are!

  • erle Pieratt wrote ...

    thank you for the great insight. I was a counselor for many years and used the skills you mentioned. I also found that sharing feelings, story's and life experience with others tends to help the other person feel it is ok to share their deeper feelings. In my opinion we are all alike in the depths of our beings. thank you once again and please write more!!!!

  • Audrey wrote ...

    hey b- thanks for sharing this. been thinking about these themes a lot recently, and found your reflections really helpful. :)