This week’s networking event was ModSocial. The group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at Refinery Nashville from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Founded by Kirsty Hughan, of Seamless Marketing, and Suki Mulberg Altamirano in 2014, Mod helps women be authentic and confident and encourages others to do the same. Mod is short for Modernist, Modification, and Modulation. This month’s Social featured speaker and life coach Chiara Sulprizio, Ph.D.
The format of ModSocial is very laid back and conversational. After a brief time of networking, the event begins with everyone standing in a circle to introduce themselves. Just hearing the passionate pursuits of this mighty group of women is inspiring. I can’t help but think, “I want to be like that when I grow up!” It’s also nice that the group doesn’t focus on one industry so there is a great mix of fields and roles represented in the group, creating terrific networking opportunities. Once the introductions were done, we all listened to Chiara speak about communication. I’ll summarize the points of advice she offered for being better, more effective and authentic communicators. These can apply to both work situations as well as personal. The ability to communicate well is easily the most critical part of my role at ICG so my ears were perked.
The Practical Woman’s Approach to Communication
Presented by Chiara Sulprizio, Ph.D.
Effective communication is a skill that must be practiced over time in order to be stellar at it. It’s just not something that we were innately born to do well. Before we can make efforts to be better communicators, attention should be paid to the message we want to express, what we want the receiver to hear, and the result we are aiming for from the communication. Chiara offered a 4-step process to help us find our voices and have the things we say be substantive and true to ourselves.
Step 1 – Cultivate a Practice Mindset
By keeping the drive to be a better communicator at the forefront of your mind, it will impact every conversation you have. In the 24 hours since hearing this speech, I’ve entered every conversation with more mental purpose. Instead of just saying words, I am focusing on the message I am conveying.
Step 2 – Actively Create Opportunities to Practice Communication
The take away I have from this step is to seek ways to practice communicating every chance that you can. The environment of the communication isn’t as important as the consistent effort we put in to being better at it. Chiara made a great point that we shouldn’t wait for those bad or uncomfortable conversations to start practicing how to make them go better.
Step 3 – Write
By writing every day, an improvement in your verbal communication will manifest. I started this blog as a class project but the more that I delve into the message I want to express, I can definitely see the benefit of writing those thoughts out. The act of writing forces me to be more organized and thoughtful about the content of my messages. Chiara offered some additional advice in that creating a 3-point bullet list for the conversation (especially if they are difficult), will help you keep focus and stay on target.
Step 4 – Draw on Others as a Resource
Is there is a speaker, thought leader, or colleague who’s communication style you admire, find ways to observe their style in action. Watching videos of them in action and taking notes will assist in emulating their style. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery!
After her speech, we broke into groups of three to role play on various communication situations. I had the pleasure of working with Brooke Shippee and Chiara’s mom, Eva. Through the role play, we investigated that sometime we respond in ways that we immediately don’t agree with or are uncomfortable with, and that there are ways to deliver a negative message so that it doesn’t come across as too aggressive. Even in the role play, I had trouble not responding with “I’m sorry” to a request that I was supposed to turn down.
I hope this post is helpful if communication is an area in which you struggle. I will certainly be focusing on these steps as I go through my day in an effort to exhibit communication prowess!