Episode 53 – Head vs Heart, 7-steps to start communicating from the heart, getting out of your head, spotting it in others, consequences of being heady, why it happens and more
Episode 053 – Head vs Heart, 7-steps to start communicating from the heart, getting out of your head, spotting it in others, consequences of being heady, why it happens and more
Today’s subject often goes under the radar – head vs heart. Many people are unaware they’re coming solely from the headspace. This typically plays out in everyday communication.
This leads to all too familiar personal and professional situations – struggling to connect, build-up of frustration within families, distancing in relationships, disconnect in the workplace and more.
The reality is we all live in a rapidly changing world where we are forced to make decisions quickly and technology dominates all forms of communication. Which has lead to people losing touch with their inner voice. This change in communication has led to a very ‘heady’ culture.
Today’s episode will focus on making you aware of head vs heart and how to start coming from a heart space. Meaning opening yourself up to more flowing, dynamic, engaging and heartfelt communication.
To help that outcome we cover the following questions:
- Why is this an important subject?
- What is meant by talking from your head, rather than your heart?
- How do we identify if we’re coming from a ‘heady’ or heart space?
- How do you spot it in another person?
- What are the reasons people end up in a permanent headspace?
- Is coming from a headspace a bad thing?
- And more…
Plus taking action on shifting your communication from headspace to a heart space – Dr Ro’s 7 Steps to come from the heart:
- Be present with yourself
- Reflect on your core values and beliefs about people
- Feel the other persons energy and presence
- Listen to them (not just yourself)
- Stop thinking ahead of what they’re saying
- Approach each conversation with a sense of compassion
Listen to this episode to get a detailed walkthrough of each step.
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Harms: Hello it’s Harms here and welcome to another episode of the Seekardo show today.
The episode you’ll be listening to tackles a subject that often goes underneath the radar and for many people they may not even be aware that this is happening to them. In everyday communication all too often people on a personal or professional level find themselves in a situation where they struggle to really connect with the person they are speaking to. That’s the basis of the conversation today.
That’s the problem we’re here to solve.
This leads to frustrations that can build within families and businesses and employees and customers and this overarching level of a feeling of being disgruntled because they are unable to have their needs met, or to even be heard.
Fundamentally linked to the connection I spoke about add to that in a rapidly changing world where we are forced to make decisions quickly and technology seem to dominate all forms communication think email, instant messaging, which means people have lost touch with their inner voice and this communication has led to a very heady culture mentally today.
Shifting the focus to Dr Ro who has been in the field of communication for over 30 years and we’ve just come off an amazing communications events and so I want to pick his brains about this observation and maybe give us examples of how to spot when we are connecting from the heart space and how to open ourselves up to a more flowing, dynamic, engaging and heartfelt communication versus when we are coming from a headspace.
Ro over to you, I know this conversation is deep in your soul it’s something you wanted to speak about for quite a while now and anybody who comes into interaction with you, often they leave with this amazing solution and is often because of his head versus heart battle.
So why is this topic important to you?
Dr Ro: Thanks Harms and hi to everybody and again, thank you all for joining us on the Seekardo show.
Another great subject.
Why is this so important? I think simply put, we’ve moved in as you said, so rightly we moved into an era now where people are just wanting to get quick results.
A lot of digital communication people talk on zoom on the phones and facetime and often while functioning doing other things. I think your generation, everyone’s just in the space of getting things done and I genuinely feel that we moved further and further away from that slower paced, more present, heartfelt connection that people certainly of my generation I grew up with and my grandparents 100%, my parents.
I just think our children if we are not careful now children are going to grow up in a space where they really struggle to look in the eyes of another human being to feel that person’s emotional state, but also get a sense of who they are and almost processing in their heads what to say next, how to come across correctly, making sure they don’t mess up and intellectualising a conversation as opposed to emotionalising it. Becoming emotionally present with somebody so it’s a really huge subject.
You just mentioned that we just come off the back of an event I would say if it wasn’t the number one it was in the top two maybe three things that came out on the weekend, which is people we had one gentleman that came on I think in his 50’s said he had never looked somebody in the eye as much as he had this weekend.
I think in 50 years I don’t think he had a really deep conversation where he looked somebody in the eye and really got a sense of who they were. It was always a functional process and we need to address that.
Harms: We had a mother on the call who spoke to one of our coaches and also revealed that the way she was taught to be a mother was not to look her sons in the eye never really face them up, never really create an emotional connection with them and that would turn into men or whatever.
That also transpires back to what we’re talking about here.
One of the things I’ve seen out there is everybody feels like they have to give an immediate response and I sometimes fall into that trap. Somebody says something to me rather than take a moment to feel what that person is saying instead it’s a logical instant response and once that muscle is trained it’s extremely hard to reverse that process, which is why people come spend three intensive days to almost unlock their heart.
Dr Ro: If you think about it texts come in and you get a text and it’s heady and then you kind of respond with your fingers here and you’re thinking about what you’re saying and in that moment we’re completely not present with anyone around us. Then you put that down and we go to emails and it’s the same thing.
We’ve moved into a culture where we feel obligated to respond quickly and that’s coming into our interaction people. We’re functioning face-to-face like we would be with the phone or the computer. I actually think this is a serious problem for our growing youths.
Harms: Another way to describe it is how do you get across an emotion via text and actually people have defaulted to an emoji.
Dr Ro: Especially for your age group, but then emoji’s can be positioned a certain way and people misinterpret them, or you get the wrong emoji.
Harms: I think the message here is for the listeners at home is when somebody then goes to interact in real life you can’t pull an emoji out your pocket and say I love this conversation or this conversation is making me cry.
Dr Ro: Because they have learnt to articulate it. They’ve just functionally done it through their phone.
Harms: I want to define for the listeners what is meant when we talk about talking from your head rather than your heart.
What does that mean?
Dr Ro: I’m sure if I say this some people will disagree and some will say that’s. When someone is talking from the head they’re thinking about what they’re saying and it has to be done the right way. They’re intellectualising it.
They are processing it, it’s to do with how I’m coming across, ego’s coming into it and there’s just a disconnect from what the body might be telling. They’re really not tuned into anything else that is going on below the neck whereas the heart is that feeling you get when you look at somebody and you might remember on the CWI event I put a photograph up on one of the sections on authenticity. It was a picture of a lady holding out a potato or possibly sweet potato and without a word we asked all the delegates to type in what they felt and it was incredible, they really got a sense of this lady.
My comment was she hasn’t said a single word but look at the connection you’ve got, that is somebody expressing without using their head. It’s just a feeling it’s something coming from their heart.
A heartfelt conversation is where you’re present, you get a sense of what the person is feeling the tone in your voice is softer, there’s a flow between the two people and you’re speaking with, empathising with as opposed to speaking from the head you’re speaking at somebody talking to them it is a one-way conversation they’re receiving but not really feeling the connecting.
Harms: You mentioned on the weekend that you start to think of your communication and connection with somebody as a dance, because in this polarised world it’s very much black or white.
Dr Ro: People were talking about arguments and battlefield conversations, so dance is a nice metaphor.
Harms: You want to dance in that grey area because everybody has their perceptions, how they’ve grown and their own circumstances and we completely forget that.
The reason we forget that is linked to my second point which is we’re very much thinking about the fix, the solution and it is very much coming from that headspace.
I think men fall into this trap more than women.
Dr Ro: And she is expressing openly and his brain is processing that and instead of feeling it immediately coming up with the solution and that conflict between couples male-female energy is he is trying to fix it and she just wants to express that’s a head heart conversation going on.
Harms: We are talking about two situations here that we want the listeners to be aware of, first is how do I know when I’m speaking from my head versus my heart?
Secondly when you’re speaking to somebody else how do you spot them, which is just as powerful.
Dr Ro: Think about a situation how many times when you’re in a conversation with somebody and when they’re speaking to you, you find yourself listening to what they’re saying and coming up with a counter argument or already pre-empting a response or you are wanting to speak almost right after they finish without pause?
Or even over them maybe because of enthusiasm but most of the time because you already feel you have the answer to what they’re saying, that’s a classic heady conversation where you’re thinking about what you’re saying you’re processing and coming straight back.
Equally, you’re coming to the table and the other person is in front of you they’re breaking down facial gestures and giving you all the signs about the fact they’re going into an emotional place and you missed it, you’re just functionally responding. That’s how it feels from the perspective of the deliverer. Whereas when you’re in your heart you almost can’t rush.
Even now I made that shift you feel every word, you face feels it, your eyes soften, your tonality. Your breath can run out almost because you want to squeeze the last word out but you really feel the other person you connect with them and you don’t feel a need to get every word right. Like I am speaking now I’m just trying to get a sense of how I can say it so the listener feels it’s a heartfelt communication from the deliverer’s side.
Even as I’m talking to you, what are you noticing?
Harms: Here’s a distinction which is if you don’t come from the heart space you won’t be receptive to these shifts. I would have been sitting here 10 years ago and I would’ve been like, I don’t feel any different whereas here I felt the shift, I felt that person which in this case is Dr Ro had gone to a place and of course from the listeners perspective you can only hear us.
I can see Ro’s eyes, face changing I can see is breath changing. When he was giving you the definition there or his feeling of the explanation his eyes were looking in parts of his mind to find what he is feeling at this time.
Dr Ro: When we talk about mind-reading on the CWI and if a heartfelt question is asked that person starts to search for it in a different place than if a head question is asked which we saw very openly.
Your question was how you see it in the other person?
Normally it’s the same thing you’ve got to be a mirror to that person and you say okay if I was looking at myself, how would I look heady?
A heady person tends to look up a lot or left and right they can’t keep their eye contact very long with you and when they do speak it’s almost like no change in the eyes at all, they’re speaking slightly monotone.
Harms: When people talk about eye contact they’re thinking I need to have perfect eye contact, so it’s going to be straight.
Dr Ro: It is like a monologue and I’m delivering to you.
Whereas if I now search for a feeling I have to go into my internal processes to get sense of that and I can break eye contact with you, but I still feel connected to you I don’t feel I have to look at you all the time and when someone is talking to you from a heart space, breathing changes. I looked down. There was a softness to my voice you can just feel that person.
That’s the essence here and a newsreader reading an article about a situation you can just tell they’re acute and dialogue. If you watch a really compassionate newsreader when there’s something serious you can see them shift.
On a day-to-day basis if I’m delivering to you all the time we wouldn’t have a relationship you’d get bored with it and you’d feel disassociated, disconnected.
Harms: That person doesn’t leave a lasting impression.
It was just logical conversation yeah, they were right or wrong. Either they were really right and you think they’re always right and get a bit annoying to some extent, and if a person is really wrong you also may come from a headspace.
The point I wanted to make is actually to develop and nurture this skill, and access your heart space there’s very few people I think on the planet who actually come from that space. I probably met three or four in my lifetime, but lucky to be accessed through your team they all come from the heart space.
There’s a group of people, they do exist, but in your day-to-day life there’s very few.
Dr Ro: I think in certain areas of the world there’s definitely a group of emotionally developed people and I think there are people that stay in the heart space all the time and that can also lead to challenges and there’s majority people in the headspace.
I think if you look globally we’re moving more talk towards the headspace. I think that is also the rising conscience people are fighting that at the moment. If I look in the media like Oprah Winfrey, for example, she’s really brought that heart space to what she does and she’s not afraid to confront it, albeit she can go head but she has heart and she brings that out of people.
I think in the public eye there’s very few people out there that are really in that space.
With politics when do you see it?
And when you do see it you question is it real or not? We now start to talk about the concept of authentic heart space versus a manufactured heart space, and that’s something you can look for and sense. But you won’t see it if you’re in the headspace you think they seem sincere whereas somebody truly in the heart space goes, they’re just saying that, but I don’t feel that.
Harms: Because you will immediately feel it.
Harms: You touched on a really good point which is this contrast with the people, people who live completely in the heart space or people who live completely in the headspace.
The question I have is, is being in your head a bad thing?
Dr Ro: I’m hoping we’re pressing buttons here because it’s not really a subject that is discussed, not in the general space for kids certainly not.
Couples who love each other if one of them is very heady, and I’ve been there. I know how that feels, if I’m doing a lot events I’m functioning and operating in the business I come home and I speak to a lovely partner I’m in this headspace and she wants to connect, sometimes I have that literally unload somewhere internally or just make a switch because I can still be in a headspace.
The problem is if you’re in a relationship and you’re in a headspace all the time your partner can switch off. If you’re in a relationship with somebody who’s always heading for example, male, female doesn’t matter and they are constantly talking at you, that relationship can break up.
Going into the question of is it bad to be in your headspace?
There are times when you’ve got to be there because it’s the only situation to be in. If a fire suddenly occurs in this building we just have to go right functionally what do we need to do? Sometimes in a job situation where there’s a team of you working straight into headspace when we run our CWI event we spend a whole day basically head.
We wanted to get a sense of how the audience would feel but the three of us were smashing it out when we got to the day it was head, head, head. Most conversations were head apart from when I was doing the talking or when we came off for a break and were reflecting, we actually switched immediately.
Even then I remember talking to you and you were dealing with some things with the audience answering some questions and moving people around in the breakout rooms and I quickly wanted to ask a question, and he was just in his headspace. We need to defend headspace, head space has its place in our lives.
However, from an interpersonal intimate relationship, creating rapport, connecting with your customer, being compassionate with your business partner, going into a meeting and being aware that somebody in a board meeting their son has just had an accident that morning, they’re there, but actually not talking about it you can get a sense of there’s something going on. Is it important?
Freaking hell, it’s one of the most important things to be in your heart space and I just think that having an awareness of it alone will change people’s conversations. Not having an awareness of it on an intimate level relationship kids, job, work sorry I think it can destroy relationships that is my personal view. I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years and you saw this weekend every one of those people had shifts and it wasn’t because it was head.
A lot of them said it was amazing, really logical great tools, but oh my god the stuff I got about myself, the connection, watching the people in the audience, learning how to communicate more effectively from the heart that was groundbreaking.
Harms: I want to take it deeper.
The challenge I want to emphasise is I’ve been there, which is you just live in your headspace and there’s no way to get into your heart space, it almost feels impossible.
Dr Ro: Take us back to Harminder 10 years ago in your career before you were financially secure through property and all that stuff.
Harms: Harms 10 years ago in my career was an engineering role.
Dr Ro: What awareness did you even have of this?
Harms: Let me describe how most people might go through work, but for engineering, high-pressure situations where you are in charge of 40+ people the conversation was always from headspace.
One because it’s a safe environment and there is a genuine reason to be in a headspace. You don’t want to be in a heart space if you’re an engineer.
For example, if an employee is going through a tough time and you go to senior management or HR and they say tough, performance review them out of the business.
These employees are genuinely struggling; they work night shifts and something is going on in the background, something personal. If it can’t be solved the conversation with HR or senior management will be are you performing reviewing them because we want to perform review them out of the job.
In other words, each time you review them there’s an argument to say logically from the company we can’t keep you.
Dr Ro: It’s been a hard six months, my little boy that’s the situation I’m in.
Harms: But you didn’t do this and you didn’t do this at work.
Dr Ro: But can’t you give me a break.
Harms: There’s no breaks, you get paid a salary.
Dr Ro: My wife may lose a job as well.
Harms: That’s something which we can’t help with.
Dr Ro: What if I put my head down and maybe in the next review we can see if I’m doing better.
Harms: For sure, but I need you to hit these three metrics.
Dr Ro: Can I have a week off next week as my son is really ill?
Harms: No that performance starts as of today.
Dr Ro: That’s how it goes. Did you have any sense of feeling?
How many people are listening to this like the gentleman that came on who was 50 his closing statement at the end of CWI was, I want to get my kids to the next one of these lock them in the room and chuck away the key because I never taught them any of this. They don’t get this level of connection or compassion and he said in my profession as a contractor we don’t do that.
Harms: If you’re a contractor it’s even more logical there’s no space for heart space.
Dr Ro: I think in the space we’ve got to use the word compassion as that’s another word for maybe how you communicate with heart space. For the blokes like heart, what do you mean heart? What about compassion?
There’s no space for compassion.
There is a slight shift in the language, but now they go okay that’s what you mean.
They begin to soften as well.
You have compassion in you, you are a compassionate person, you’re a heart person so was it just layers and layers?
Harms: This is what I want to link to the second question which is why this happened? It was at that stage layers, I felt uncomfortable, which is subsequently one of the reasons why I needed to shift. It was my heart speaking but I felt it as this is just uncomfortable, I need to get better at my job.
Dr Ro: In other words you were questioning whether you just weren’t efficient.
Harms: Wasn’t management material, ruthless enough to be there I feel comfortable.
Dr Ro: Ruthless lives in the heart in the headspace.
Harms: I should be comfortable dealing with employers at this level and making these tough decisions, but it left me in an uncomfortable state.
Dr Ro: You were 20?
Harms: Early 20s, 22, 23.
Dr Ro: Step back a bit. I grew up my mum after my father died, man just functional, headspace working two jobs, sometimes three. She’d do mornings leave, go to work, I’d go to school she’s functioning remember and then she’d get an hour and then go off work in a factory till 10 o’clock at night sometimes 11. And on Friday she would leave her factory job a little bit earlier and then she would go and do a chip around.
There was a van where she basically chopped chips and for fish and chips and on the weekend she sometimes did something else as well, she was really in a headspace. I think she didn’t have the opportunity to go in and have that compassionate space. She was compassionate towards us as children but also showed up slightly heady in that respect and she probably would admit that.
That’s how I grew up and I saw that element, but for me personally, my father was a Buddhist and he passed away when I was 13 but there’s something in that ancestry for me that has become part of who I am. I was very much aware of it and I was forced like you into a profession which was very heady.
I found myself wrestling all the way through that and I didn’t know until these last 20 years that’s what was going on in my heart something wanted to change. Did you grow up with that backdrop?
Were your parents heady?
The Asian culture can be around men can’t it?
Harms: I’m lucky my parents showed us compassion, but I think with the Asian culture it wasn’t a case of we don’t love our children it was a case of they also had to function.
Dr Ro: There was something about how they operated that sends a message to us as children.
Harms: From a job space it was crack of dawn you’re out working you come home you’re exhausted in that space now when I look back, where was the space to show that love or teach children to reach that heart space?
Tired parents working in jobs then they’ve got house chores and all the kind of functional stuff that has to happen, but Asian cultures the focus is less on be who you want to be, feel what you’re feeling instead it’s get ready for a professional career. You must study, you must get the degree, must be an engineer, doctor. If you are professional, you’ve ticked the box.
Dr Ro: We’re having this conversation and my other half was up late last night listening to a really passionate interview and her conversation with me this morning was we need to talk and reflect about the kids because yes we want them to do well, and we believe in showing them about having a sense of purpose but it’s that balance between who are they versus what are they being taught.
What is the system saying they have to follow?
At an early age, our educational system is getting us heady not hearty. We’re talking about young age, young Harms and young Ro. What was the step that took us here?
What if we can get young people at an early age being aware of this, so that we can take them through a transition.
Harms: I love that because what we’ve talked about is how does it evolve from the start but there was something else I observed in the work that we do and as an observer of that and working with a team of coaches something I observed is the reason or one of many multiple, unlimited reasons why people who are permanently in the headspace, they’ve just lost complete connection with that heart space and they do don’t know how to access the heart.
One of the reasons this occurs is, which was very transparent over the weekend is if somebody has felt pain or significant emotional event, or they had a bad relationship, they’ve had a troubling childhood that all lives in the heart not somewhere logically in the mind.
The reason somebody doesn’t want to go back to that space is because it’s so painful and that was so transparent.
Dr Ro: How many times did I say what are you protecting or what’s really going on there?
The minute somebody is in a headspace from my perspective the first thing I see is somebody trying to protect something else.
It could be several things. It could be they’re protecting their intellectual level of understanding; they don’t appear to be stupid that could be one thing. It could be they’re wanting to protect their status, but most of the time they’re protecting a wound, something that has happened in the past. Oddly enough, their head has stepped in to protect their heart and it was the very thing that we wanted to share and I think the conversation that came out was about vulnerability and somebody feeling vulnerable.
Men struggle with this a lot but the whole concept in my mind if somebody has been wounded, abused or bad relationship, business relationship or intimate personal relationship. We had a lady that woke up on their wedding day and the husband decided that was it, he didn’t want to get married and just that left her with a scar. She then went into a relationship with men just really heady, functional, protective.
We can think defence quickly, we can use words cleverly to defend ourselves, we can change the direction of a conversation with our head. We can do this as coaches to guide someone in the right direction, but if someone comes at us we can deflect the words so head conversations are really great ways to protect ourselves.
I think that’s the point you want to make here is that, ultimately, most people who stay there are doing it because they are afraid as we saw with the young man who was a photographer they were protecting something here.
Pride, ego, hurt from the past, some kind of wound and so we wrap up the heart with words that are from the head. We have to peel those words back and allow the head to step away and the heart becomes more vulnerable again and that’s when people go, how do we do that?
Harms: You mentioned the word weakness and it is a good time to pivot to that. When somebody peels away those layers, peels away those words, stops that mental mind defence mechanism and then goes into that space that vulnerable space, the heart or they are afraid to go there because it makes them appear weak.
Dr Ro: In blokes, but women in a different way it’s not just gender specific, but men it’s more of an ego I might appear weak. For a woman it’s I’m afraid to go there again.
Harms: Talking as a man then in my generation it may be in your generation from a different visual perspective, but from my generation we look at men online, social media and we are in advertised to and content marketed to lots of information lots of media around successful men who have no weakness, they are ironmen.
If you’re not an iron man you’re weak, not successful.
Dr Ro: If they do show any slight weakness, they kick back in the more heady, aggressive way.
Harms: Or they try and outsmart somebody regardless of what you feel and make you feel like you’re lesser and, but that aside, keep following me, looking at my social media.
Dr Ro: What message does that send to young people coming through?
It is like I need to get even headier, I think that’s the danger of this. We opened the weekend very early on in the CWI event and this is a common message that we found with men but I think the conversation started with the young lady actually is, being vulnerable is not a weakness it’s a strength.
It’s such a powerful strength that allows the heart which is the biggest engine body to really come forward because the minute you open up the heart you create connection with another human being. I think the message with the person initially was it will give you an opportunity to forge a relationship you may never have had if you’ve been in your head.
The heart is like a garden; it needs to be constantly fed sunlight, not choked from the head. Vulnerability is actually an incredible strength because it shows you have the ability to be compassionate whilst also being driven as well.
For men this is an important message and for the ladies you might be going you don’t understand I’ve been hurt before, just because you were hurt before doesn’t mean to say that you can’t allow somebody to come in there and nurture that heart.
Harms: It needs to be watered properly and from a heady perspective when I was observing this and I had a bit of technical role that weekend, when somebody went into a heart space and of course we ran this online, somebody gets pulled up visually and they have a conversation with Ro and Ro’s having this discussion with them and then they are realising by getting to the heart space and being in that vulnerable space they can create connection somebody.
The evidence of that is the 80 other people on the call, are in tears, they’re applauding that person they’re like thank you for showing us that somebody can access their heart. In the act of them entering the heart space they immediately connected with 80 people, 80 people fell in love with them and the person they are.
Dr Ro: On a screen remotely, people in different parts of the world, which just shows you that it comes down to open heart conversation.
There was logic without a doubt, and there were definitely head conversations going on, but it was a dance between the two.
If someone says, but I can’t have a heart space conversation over a telephone, messaging app, video conference call that’s rubbish because we proved that.
We had people say that makes sense, that doesn’t make sense let’s get out of your head.
One guy I had to say to him get out of your head and he looked at me straight and then I softened and went to a different place.
It’s like a sledgehammer to break through but his defence mechanisms had been there for so many years, I think it was Sunday and it was a final boom and it was a really heartfelt message he shifted completely. It took several sledgehammers to get there and I think you may have to sledgehammer yourself. I don’t mean literally, it is a metaphor.
Harms: How can somebody access a sledgehammer i.e. a tool and what are the first things people can do to start opening up and communicate from the heart more?
The one extreme example is having a coach work with you and sledgehammer that defence mechanism but what can somebody do who understands that there might be a heart space, but they spend more time in the headspace and they want to access the heart space more?
Dr Ro: If you’re an entrepreneur everything you do, your business has to function with an end user somewhere.
That end-user is a human being, and there’s compassion needed there. If your product came across in a more compassionate way, if you are aware that there is a human element of what you do you may attract more people. You come back up one notch and you’ve got employees that sell the products. It’s relevant to every single conversation that we ever have with any human being anywhere.
There have been times when I’ve not been so conscious because I’m busy, something going on in my world I have to function very quickly and I might have had a brief conversation with somebody I met in a café, whatever, and I wasn’t as compassionate as I should have been.
No one is perfect here, the world goes on around us, but the more we’re aware of it, I’ve even done that before going back in and just wanted to say thank you for serving me that was great because I realised I rushed in and out and I didn’t have a connection with somebody. Having the awareness allows us to be able to make those changes and adapt quickly. I think it’s important we emphasise it’s not just about intimate relationships and family it’s with everything.
Harms: If we think about the last year the world has gone through if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner there’s no logic to this, you have to be compassionate you have to speak from the heart to get your employees to rally along with you to recover, to turn things around.
Dr Ro: You’re pressing a button of mine people are not doing it. I work with companies and some of them are so in their heads functionally board level all the way through, the message starts at the top the company starts there it’s the wrong message you won’t have compassion going through to the bottom of the company, right to the customer.
Harms: I think that’s evident all around us, but we need that more than ever, especially off the back of what’s happened.
That leads me back onto what are the tools that people can access or just start using immediately in order for them to start this open communication?
Dr Ro: The first one and it has to be the first one is you’ve got to be present with yourself.
Even as you’re talking to me there’s that moment of reflection, you’re centred, you can speak, but mindfulness is a very common word we use today seems to be very popular, but actually presence is a word that’s been around for a long time.
Just being aware being in the moment, which I know sounds cliché, but if you keep hearing about it maybe get out of your head into your freaking heart and have a look down there because that’s what people are trying to say is be with somebody and be with that person, as opposed to just being in the space but not being present with them.
That means just being aware of your breathing, your heart, your head, what am I thinking opposed to what am I feeling, disconnected from the sounds around us.
We’ve got phones in the room here with us but we’re not looking at those we were present with.
Step number one is being present with yourself first.
If that just means whenever you’re out just pausing for a moment like this could be a split second and saying this is my moment of presence before I speak. It gives you a chance to connect inwardly check in to a deep level before just speaking from the head.
Harms: Link that back to the example we gave earlier which an amazing gentleman said, I had spent 30 years, not even looking in people’s eyes.
Dr Ro: It was 50 years.
What happened was there was a young man and he said this has been life changing, I realise that everyone’s been coming to me, my family I’ve been in my head trying to give results to help people not being able to communicate very effectively, not being honest with myself and this weekend has helped me realise I can be honest, I can be authentic, I can share my message and still be true to myself. I said thank god you got the message now, how old are you? He said 26, 27, and I said imagine you’re in your 50s and discovered this.
The next person that came up was 52 and I said I’ve just dug a hole there as it was exactly that. As you say, it’s doing it early and learning to practice it early.
Harms: What’s the second step?
Dr Ro: The second step and we have talked about this before is really getting a sense of what your core values are and beliefs.
I mean being present in every moment, but step two is get your core beliefs about who you are as a person and about how you communicate but also about your core values as a person, so that when you communicate with people you are present with those values and so you’re not trying to speak as though your somebody else.
When you know your identity, your purpose and core values, when you communicate they are like beautiful communication lines that come through you and they’re like tuning a guitar you will feel it. It is just a great vibration and you go this is amazing, my words are just in flow and because you’re present with that you know that.
If you’re not connected with that you’ll be saying all manner of things but feeling really weird. Like you in your job you were saying stuff but thinking there is a twang here that is not right. How was that for you?
Was it a physical, emotional, sicky feeling?
Harms: I think the feeling gets greater and greater as it starts as a little niggle. It is a sick feeling you drive to work and feel sick, driving home you feel sick, you get home and just zone out and it came down to how I was behaving was misaligned with my value.
Dr Ro: Then you are articulating in a different way you are speaking on behalf of someone that said to position them out of their performance review. That language was somebody else’s language.
Number three is to feel the other person’s energy when you’re present with them. As I’m talking to you, I can unload all the stuff going on, but I’m also conscious of the wisdom inside you so I’m conscious of that and I’m watching your response. I’m pausing because I get a sense that there’s something you want to say and often if I’m my head I don’t see that. If someone is heady they just talk, talk, talk and the person goes.
I was going to say something, but we don’t have time now. Just start to open up to feeling how their energy is and notice their breathing, facial gestures they also give clues, but if you can really go there without saying anything they can emit a vibrational frequency which you can tune in to. but you can only do that if you’re number one present.
Feeling the presence and just being aware of what you sense about the reaction to this is the third part of the process.
Harms: This is not an intellectual exercise in the past. I would have treated it like one, so for example if you find yourself observing somebody and you can’t feel what they’re feeling, that is not the point. The point is just feel them and it will evolve and you will know when it happens.
Dr Ro: If you don’t know how that feels, then you’re not present but when you’re present you might go I’ve got a feeling or look at their reaction. If they glaze over, you can pretty much see they’re feeling bored.
Harms: If you go through these first three steps and actually are present to somebody, you will start to feel things just internally, there’ll be lots of stuff going on internally.
Dr Ro: Which might cause a challenge, reaction you may feel scared like the gentlemen was saying I couldn’t believe it, I was getting a sense of them. So don’t be scared of this experience and even if you get here and you back off a bit you’ve made a massive step forward. It might be where a coach steps in to work with you to understand what those emotions are coming up as that could be a wound from the past.
The next step is really a CWI step where we talk about them.
Now it’s about listening to the words they’re saying, how they’re phrasing it, how the tone is, when they’re responding to you, do they sound like they want to get a message across to you? Do they sound dismissive, angry, upset?
You’ve really got to tune into their words because that will help you re-evaluate the moment, and then go okay, I need to be more present, I need to listen more and not try and give a solution which is what a bloke might try to do.
That fourth step is really listening to the words and what message they are giving to me with their body language and their facial language and the words they’re saying.
Harms: Can you talk into when we say listen or when you say listen to the words you really mean listen to the words, every single word, how they phrase it, what exactly does that word mean?
Dr Ro: Here’s an example: a fantastic lady came on and I said give me a slight picture of your business and she talked about her business and two things happened. She tilted her head and a little bit of arrogance or ego came into the way she pitched her business as she talked about other businesses and was like we don’t do that and I had a choice at that moment to let it go or pick her up on it very quickly.
There was a shift in the tone shift in her word, pace and her energy. I said well if you were your customer I just sense you are arrogant a little bit and have some ego and she smiled and acknowledged that and that I think is an important element of listening. Listening is about how the words emphasised?
Are they using words that have a link to pain for example?
Are they delivering words that show some sense of fear, vulnerability or are they defensive, aggressive are they talking about themselves a lot?
When we listen to every single word, when a person speaks they make a statement based on their beliefs if they ask a question it steers the conversation.
Every sentence a person makes essentially reflects their beliefs. If you are very good at asking questions you get a sense of their beliefs and if they’re not comfortable with you it will come out.
Harms: That’s very much listening to what they’re saying literally word for word, the phraseology. What does that lead us to in terms of the next step?
Dr Ro: This is you and I talking now it’s like not trying to anticipate the next thing they’re saying, not trying to think ahead.
As I’m speaking you’re very much listening and you bring a different dimension to what we share and then you start speaking and I think that is interesting and I could easily jump in and go. I would do this and we did this years ago, but I just wait. I let it evolve. You let the conversation evolve and if somebody who is very heady is already planning the next sentence especially in your job with your boss, whatever, and they want to be right it’s like a tennis game. Bang, bang, bang they’re straight back at you.
Whereas somebody from a heart space just feels the words and maybe reflects on it first before they comment, allows it to process deeper, lets the voice speak from the heart come back up and maybe the head articulates it maybe it doesn’t, but it’s not an instant response.
An instant response is nearly always the head where you might get an instant response from them are tears, change in breath as you said, the face starts to wobble and that’s now the heart just holding back feeling vulnerable.
Sometimes if you just say it’s okay I can feel pain and off they go and not every conversation is like that. It could be a frustrated customer and that they get quite emotional and if you’re too heady it pisses them off. You say I feel your frustration. We need to find a solution to this. I want to help you and you change your language pattern.
Harms: If you don’t do this part of the step, you fundamentally can’t do what we speak about because if you’ve got this internal dialogue about what should I say next or you try to pre-empt them, how can you listen to them at the same time?
You just can’t, our minds aren’t wired that way.
Dr Ro: That step number five stop thinking ahead you have to go back to step number one to stop thinking ahead.
Harms: This is like a weave of communication, talk to us about the next step.
Dr Ro: If you’re not thinking ahead the next that has to be to come from a place of compassion. When you’re communicating yes, it might be a business meeting and there may be times when you have to be boom, boom, boom from heady, but listen as we said, and watch and when there’s a moment where compassion is needed heart for the men, for the ladies you understand both of these that’s when you have to think about what comes next.
Customers suddenly get emotional but it’s just really frustrating. The product is not working and you go to the product if it’s fine . We’ve got a great production line, you’ve got good value for money. That’s a heady response as opposed to listening I can feel the pain and the next thing I have to say has to come from a place of compassion. It has to relate to them and that’s how you create rapport with them and you just say I’m sincerely sorry that this happened and we don’t want this to be your experience, I’ll speak to the team get the details of what you ordered and give you an extra special gift as well, but I just wanted to say sincerely sorry.
That’s heartfelt as opposed to you paid your money you’ve got a good price I’ll get you a new one out. Completely different response.
Harms: What is the final step because they’ve got an amazing pathway of tools here now to start accessing their heart space when communicating.
Dr Ro: The final step is actually you could almost blend it into six but if you really want to bring something special step seven is just bringing emotional aspects to everything.
If you remember on CWI one of the challenges a lot people were having is when they were going to a meeting or conversation, presentation it was like I’ve got to get the facts right, the figures right, the information across we changed that we gave them a different paradigm on the first day of the training.
We said there has to be an element of emotional and logical messaging in what you say, if you’re just logic someone will switch off. Start to weave just emotional aspects into what you say even in a business meeting, bring something up about the other person’s family or how the product can change people’s lives.
Yes, statistically it does this but what does that do for their lives?
Harms: It does not have to be massive but learning to be more compassionate and that comes through the tone of the voice as well. It’s how we express it with our body language.
We had a specialist come in and talked about tonality, physiology, about the words that we used and how important that is. That last piece is really learning to weave emotion into what you’re saying.
Dr Ro: Those are seven steps to start communicating from a heart space. If you’ve lived in the headspace and this feels overwhelming don’t overthink it, just start step one.
Do the bloody values yes series.
When I went through my value elicitation it was gut wrenching as I was living in a very headspace for most my life, although I connected with people I had this to-and-fro and the minute I did the values elicitation it gave me a cleansing feeling and I could come back to the table and start to express in a different way.
I’d been fighting that for years I had been in my heart, but also in a career that was very heady. I was thrown between the two so I did that as an exercise. Just go out there and just start applying this being mindful of it, observing it.
Harms: That’s myself and Ro signing off we shall see you on the next one.
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