One of the things I offer in my private practice is communication coaching. On top of my counselling and narrative therapy experience, I integrate my background in journalism, creative writing, corporate communications, marketing and purpose-driven start-up business to inform how I coach my clients in interpersonal communication.
The message sent is rarely the message received
It's not always as simple as the message, sender, receiver equation. The words we use to express our feelings and intentions are hardly ever received 100% how we'd hoped.
There are many factors influencing this, such as the sender's:
- Body language
- Tone of voice
- Chosen setting (i.e. is the conversation taking place in a peaceful or stressful environment)
- Listening skills (i.e. are they delivering their message as a lecture or an invite to connect)
Then there's the receiver's context that impacts how the message is interpreted, such as their:
- Preconceived biases and personal preferences
- Past traumas
- Unique love language
- Cultural practices
- Mood (i.e. even something as simple as whether the receiver is well fed/slept influences the dynamic)
Take note of the 'noise'
These interrupters in the process are called 'noise'. Just as a noisy room makes it difficult for us to hear someone talking, there are many kinds of noise that distort the sender's message on its way to the receiver.
In our work together, we can start to develop your awareness of these types of noise and swiftly adapt your communication to the situation and person.
How has my media and communications background informed my counselling practice?
Investigative journalism, editorial writing and interviewing (exposés) are all about understanding the subject matter to its core. It's about storytelling, getting the facts straight, seeking multiple perspectives, keeping a curious open mind and asking strategic questions - these are all useful skills to have whether communicating in a work setting or an intimate personal setting.
Start up business
When I studied ethical, purpose-driven startup business I learnt how to really understand audiences. When we have the 'receiver' of our message in mind we can come to our conversations with a better ability to listen and make people feel heard. Don't think of it as 'selling' something, think of it as coming to your conversations with an intentional level of care and personal responsibility (knowing and owning the effects of your words). When we understand someone's context more, it cultivates more compassion and awareness, so if our message isn't received how we intended, we don't become reactive, short-fused and give up.
Marketing and Creative Writing
Both of these are about entertainment: captivating your audience. When delivering your story to a group of people, for example, do you tell it in a way that holds their attention? Are you complaining, off-loading, bragging - or are you entertaining? This is also where public speaking skills come in. I definitely recommend trying Toastmasters or finding ways to build your confidence talking to groups of people.
Creative writing doesn't have to be 'commercial'. It can also be about self expression. It can be just for you, no one else. We could write in a stream of consciousness. We could write in different mediums: poetry, screenwriting, journalling. Lists could even be a form of creative writing! Whatever helps you connect to yourself through free creative expression is something to embrace.
You might be wondering, in this creative writing approach that's 'just for you', how does this translate into what I recommend in my communication coaching? Well, when we're more connected and aware of our own feelings, it leads to us communicating them with greater sensitivity, vulnerability and clarity to others.
Improving your communication is an ongoing quest
There are so many different modalities and schools of thought that can inform one's communication abilities. I LOVE adding diverse approaches and knowledges to my repertoire, and I'm always excited to share these perspectives and techniques with my clients.