Feng Shui for
Keys To Uncluttered Communication
Are you tired of not getting what you want?
Do you feel like your staff or colleagues aren’t listening to
you or following through on their commitments? Prepare yourself for
a little Feng Shui for your mind…
and Flow Not Clutter and Disappointment
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this ancient Chinese
practice, it is about placement and design to create spaces of
harmony and balance. Proponents say good Feng Shui and “Chi,” or
flow, have a positive effect on health, prosperity, reaching goals
and good relationships.
Craft Your Words
Just like Feng Shui, we need to know how to use words to remove
clutter and barriers in order to have clear communication. Careful
use and placement of words can achieve balance, flow and harmony.
Sometimes we spend more time crafting our words to order coffee than
we do to communicate goals, expectations, preferences, or
I used to order “a double mocha frappacino with a shot of
expresso, “skinny,” Grande in a Venti cup with shake of nutmeg and
vanilla bean…” and hope for the best. Now, I just order a small
coffee. It’s a lot easier. And I get what I want: A cup of
coffee. It’s not very glamorous without all the filler, fluff, and
calories, but how often does one really need all that? Even
if you want it, a steady diet of it is not good for your waistline
or your wallet. And that’s what Feng Shui and uncluttered
communication have in common: Clarity and Simplicity.
What are you really
If you’re not getting what you want, I invite you to step back and
listen to your choice of words. Are you clear about what you
really want before you start talking?
In this era of things being “on-demand,” instant messaging
and texting, we feel compelled to speak or write, before thinking.
STOP! Take a few minutes to remove the clutter, to balance your
thoughts. What do you really want? What is the intended
outcome that you want from this interaction? Not sure? Write it
down. Look at it. Is that what you want? If you got
that, would that make you happy or deliver the results
you want? If not, continue writing until you’ve found the clarity
and simplicity of your thoughts.
Once you have “Feng Shui’d your thoughts and words” to be sure they
are aligned and in harmony with what you want, it’s time to take
action. The next step is to express yourself with clarity,
conviction and compassion – or at least, without blame, judgment,
drama or exaggeration.
Cut the Drama:
It’s important to note that whenever there is ”drama” around a
situation, you can be assured that clear communication is going to
be compromised. In these situations, it is even more critical to
step back and be objective about the end result you really want to
achieve. Look at all sides, all possibilities and all parties
involved. Again, like Feng Shui, it’s about creating a space of
harmony and balance. Drama creates barriers to accomplishing what
Three Approaches to
Make a Request:
One way to reduce the clutter in your communication and get what you
want is to “make a request.” A “request” is similar to an
invitation. When you receive an invitation, you can accept it or
decline. In addition, a “request” can provide an opportunity for a
When you start a sentence with the words: “I have a request,”
it forces you to be clear about what you want. It also alerts the
listener to pay attention, without the fear, manipulation or
apprehension that can occur when someone barks “I need this now!” or
candy-coats “Can you do me a favor?”
For example, instead of blurting out: “You’re late again!” or
being passive-aggressive about it by sighing, rolling your eyes and
looking at your watch as the offender strolls past your office 30
minutes late, try this: Think through what you really want and how
you want to come across as a leader and manager. Align your thoughts
words and actions to that image. Now you’re ready make your request.
“Bill, I have a request. When I hired you, you said could
work from 8 – 4. The past couple weeks, you’re not here until 8:15,
sometime later. I request that you honor your commitment to work
from 8 to 4.”
In this example, that the manager is holding Bill accountable
for keeping his commitment. There is no drama, blame or opportunity
for excuses. It does provide, however, an opening for Bill to make
another request or counter offer, such as: “I’m taking the kids to
school now. Would it be possible to start at 9 and leave at 5?”
Remember: when making a request, you need to be prepared for
it to be declined or engage in a counter offer. If you’re not
willing to accept a “no” or a counter offer, then don’t make a
Expectations: Some times we think we’ve communicated expectations,
but maybe we’ve only been rehearsing the dialogue in our heads!
Did you actually tell the person what is expected? Or did you say
something like: “you should know this is part of the job…”
Please note: saying “you should know” can put the other
person on the defensive and rarely results in a good outcome. So
next time, instead of being snarky and saying, “Why can’t you get
this right consistently?” Try this: “Karen, we’ve reviewed this
customer’s specifications for this job. I expect you to
consistently do the work according to these requirements. If this
happens again, there will be a written warning.”
Make sure your expectations are reasonable and actually part
of the job. It helps to refer to documentation to support the
expectation, such as a job description, product specifications, or
legal requirements. People also need to know what happens if they
don’t meet expectations.
Keep your promises:
If you say you’ll do something, do it. If you find that you are
over committed or can’t follow through, the best thing you can do is
acknowledge it to the person to whom you made the commitment. Do it
as soon as you’re aware that you can’t keep the promise. (Now we
know you’re smarter than a fifth grader, but don’t act like one by
saying “but I didn’t say: ‘I promise.’”) All you have is your word.
Don’t diminish your integrity by not keeping your word to someone.
One of he best ways to have others keep their “promises” to
you is to model this behavior. However there are times when we need
to hold people accountable for not following through their
commitments to us. For example, “Jim, you said you’d have the
analysis completed by today. I was counting on including that
information for my presentation next week. What happened and when
will it be completed?”
So there you have it. Follow the formula for Feng Shui for
the mind and clear communication and you will reap the benefits of
clarity of thinking, aligning your words to your thoughts, and
taking action that is consistent with your thoughts and words.
These are the keys to uncluttered communication.
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