“We are today where our conversations have brought us. We will be tomorrow where our conversations take us."
As we've been exploring, transformation doesn't just happen. It requires intentional action, both individually and with those you can bring alongside you. Part of this intentional action needs to include positive communication.
Before we can start positive communications, we need to change how we see the situation we want to transform because "how we see things determines how we say things, and how we say things always influences -- and often determines -- how they turn out." Changing your perspective means
Believing that you have options and that there are possible solutions (often more than one) available to you,
Seeking and finding hope in every situation, and
Thinking and speaking in terms of "how" and "when," not "if."
Only then can you communicate in a way that fuels the kind of change you want to see. Maybe you're reading this and thinking that you've tried talking about the problems, and nothing happens. But that's the problem with our communication today; we talk about our problems wishing something would change. The type of communication we lack to inspire transformation is about finding solutions, not fixating on the problems; listening instead of just talking; having conversations instead of rants; and focusing on what brings us together rather than what drives us apart.
Transformation Conversations Start With Reality
Positive communication doesn't ignore what's happening just to be positive. Problems aren't solved, and obstacles aren't removed by sticking your head in the sand. But instead of ignoring the problems or complaining about them, transformation conversations sound more like this:
"Yes, we have a problem (acknowledge and define), but there are solutions (belief in possibilities), and we must be part of the solutions (intentional participation)."
Transformation Conversations Generate Better Ideas & Solutions
"When it comes to generating ideas, dialogues are always better than monologues." As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Each person you bring to the table with these transformation conversations brings unique perspectives and experiences that can help generate ideas and solutions you may not have come up with on your own.
Transformation Conversations Offer Hope
According to psychologist Shane Lopez, "When we hope, we have high expectations for the future and a clear-eyed view of the obstacles that we need to overcome to get there." People characterized by low hope will accept that nothing will change, whether referring to themselves, others, or the world. They avoid the problem, feed their fears, shut down, and give up. On the other hand, people characterized by high hope will challenge the status quo. They engage in solutions, feed their faith, get inspired, and get working.
"You're optimistic if you think the future will be better than the present... You're hopeful if you think that the future will be better, and you have a role in making it so." -- Shane Lopez
Transformation Conversations Celebrate Successes Through Storytelling
Telling good stories in your conversations move people's emotions, and communicate truths in a language that our brains are wired to understand, which means that they stick with us long after we've left the table and inspire us to apply the story to our lives. In the words of Vanessa Boris, "Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders have to influence, teach, and inspire."
Transformation Conversations Provide a Supportive Community
We are social creatures, so when we get together with others and have honest, positive conversations, we create supportive communities. People can encourage one another, express their belief in the change, engage in tough decisions, and mentor one another in navigating their paths.
Transformation Conversations Activate People's Potential
One of the most significant purposes of transformational conversations is to reveal potential -- they move us to make decisions that stretch us and better us, both individually and corporately, and they inspire us to live with intentionality (purpose-driven action). This is true for you and for those you have these conversations with.
This week, consider the following questions:
How is your perspective affecting your communication?
What do you need to have a transformational conversation about?
Who do you need to include in this conversation?
When can you have this conversation?