Ruben and I had delicious fun last night with a bunch of friends who came over for dinner. It was great introducing this eclectic group of friends to other and watching them connect. Years ago I would have wondered if I had chosen the right mix of people, or the right menu, or if my house was truly suitable (meaning big enough or clean enough) for the soiree to be smashingly successful. Now I know the truth: successful parties, or successful projects of any sort depend on your management of the internal factors, not the external variables.
Hands down, it was a fabulous fete….despite my many mistakes. One was turning the oven off when I checked the termperature of the roast, which made it take about an hour longer for the meat to get done. Funny how things don’t cook as well in a turned-off oven. And…I barely had enough meat for everyone – I miscalculated the size of the roast needed for the number of guests. I had butter on the table, but forgot to get the baguettes out of the oven. My guests graciously offered to make ice cream sandwiches for dessert! Nevertheless, it was mission accomplished as yours truly, the "hostess with the mostess" had prepared to have fun and delicious food with delightful guests.
Observing my friends last night reminded me how true it is that what you say and how you say it has far more impact on the world than you think. However, there’s one audience that matters most. Get your communication / connection with that audience down and the rest falls into place. If you don’t connect with that most important audience, the rest of your communication is hit or miss.
So of course you know, the most important audience you deal with is yourself. Everything else flows from that interaction.
Some people call this vital communication with yourself as "getting grounded." That’s fine if it resonates with you but I’m too Southern to go around talking about "getting grounded." That expression reminds me of science classes back in the day when I only vaguely understood what was going on.
Here’s the skinny on clear (aka "powerful") communication with yourself:
1. If you’re clear about what you want to say, or what’s important to you, your values and how you want to be treated, other people respect you more. Best of all, you don’t have to share these values out loud, people react to your energy.
People tend to mirror your emotions. If you’re having fun, they’re having fun with you. If you’re tense, they’re tense. If you’re authentically confident the project will succeed, everyone on it will follow your example.
2. If you communicate with yourself, it doesn’t matter if other people understand or accept you or not. But your quiet confidence usually ends up drawing people to you.
The irony of giving people permission to disagree with you is that once you do that, they tend to agree with you. Go figure.
3. If your self communication is on target, you have no patience for complaining, whining or criticizing. You simply don’t have the time or the energy for that nonsense.
If you communicate well with yourself, your every presentation and project will (eventually) be successful and people will treat you with respect.
P. S. In case you’re wondering, this is what we served: cheeses, crackers, breadsticks and crab dip from Costco to start. Sangria + wine + mixed drinks. The dinner menu was simple and Latin American: rice, black beans, pork loin roast, green salad. (I left the bread in the oven!) Dessert was ice cream and brownies, made with Venezuelan chocolate, and then Colombian coffee.