By: Rebecca Liston
Sometimes when I sit to write to you all, I find myself with more questions than answers.
For a long time, I thought that this was a problem – that somehow I needed to Do This Writing from a Place of Knowing Stuff.
Well, today I Know that I have questions! And because I believe in the alchemy of each moment, I am trusting that, in exploring my questions with you on this page, answers will come…for me. And quite possibly for you, too!
My questions today are around Communication. The mighty “C-word” that underscores every interaction we have with others – and ourselves. How we communicate – verbally, non-verbally – is the basis of study for many-a-scholar around the world. Training programs, books, videos, podcasts…so much information about this all-important “piece” of What It Is To Be Alive and to be In Relationship with Others and Ourselves.
I have been exploring ways to tighten my communication skills for as long as I can remember. There is still much work for me to do!
Right now, I am struggling with the wide and varied methods of communication that are, quite literally, at my fingertips.
Zoom calls with video. Or without. Text. Email. Marco Polo messages. Facebook messages. Instagram messages. WhatsApp. Facetime. Phone calls to my cell. Phone calls to our land line (yes, we still have one). Slack messages. Slack posts.
It seems that there is no shortage of ways for folks to reach me.
To be frank…
I don’t really love that.
And so I am holding this question (among a few others about communication): How can I minimize the ways in which I can be reached such that I will actually be able to respond in a timely and joy-full manner?
If you know me well, you’ve heard me say that “email is the bane of my existence.”
You’ve also likely heard me pleading that someone – anyone! – would create a seamless way for me to reply to any and all forms of messages that come from any and all platforms on just ONE platform.
Email me? Text me? Call me? No problem. My reply would come to you from just one platform no matter how you reached out to me. Seamless. Elegant. Spacious.
(Oh for the love of all things simple, would someone please invent that? Or if they have, and you know of it, can you tell me about it? Please?)
I wonder how you all handle the input that is coming at you all day, every day, from so many directions.
Do you, like me, sometimes hide away in the quiet of your home and shut off your phone and your computer and relish the silence?
Do you then feel relief? Guilt? Fear? Pleasure?
And how do you handle all the messages that come in. Do you have a preferred way of handling the various forms of input that’s seamless and elegant? Or do you, too, struggle to know where to focus, first, so that you might actually get to reply to everyone before the end of a month?!?
I once read an article about a business man who decided he was simply unreachable by email. Period. Full stop. He just said no to email. So people adapted. And they phoned him instead. Perhaps that’s the answer for some of us…to limit our accessibility is to then control how things come in, and how we can then respond.
But I admit I feel a frisson of fear around that idea! Do away with email? Was he crazy?!?
I sit now and ponder this idea…what it could mean for me. Perhaps email could become this thing that I go to when I want to read. I could read newsletters that my clients and colleagues send. I could check for sales at the local grocer. I could enjoy the process of just sitting and reading and knowing there was no action required of me other than to perhaps hit the store to get that sale price on local berries.
And so then, how would my clients reach me? How would we communicate? How would I dialogue with prospective clients to answer their questions about our work?
Recently we decided to have all of our clients on Slack. It’s been a very good decision. They were previously communicating with us on email, or in Facebook groups. Now, I go to one place, and communicate there with my team and all of my clients.
Last Friday, Carla and I met to discuss our sales process with the idea of cutting out email dialogue to clarify important points after a sales call. We decided we’d just automatically book everyone for a follow up call so I no longer had to reply to questions on email – because, let’s be honest, talking together is so much better than email, anyways.
So slowly, but surely, we are finding ways to anchor our communications to fewer platforms. It’s such a relief.
I also believe that in doing this, it opens my creative brain up further so that I can manage any communication with better skill. When I am overwhelmed, I don’t communicate as well. So it stands to reason that, in simplifying things, I will be able to focus more on my message and my delivery, which is what really matters most.
Thanks for sitting in the questions with me, Dear Reader.
Here’s to evolving our skills as we simplify our processes!
Rebecca Liston is cofounder and business intuitive at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. She specializes in anchoring folks in a clear-eyed understanding of which path is theirs for the taking. She’s got one foot in the land of the subtle and unseen, and the other foot firmly planted in the land of ruthless pragmatism. Oh, and she swears like a sailor, which makes us love her more.
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