Language is overrated, be resourceful instead.

It’s been a hectic few days, lots of research and reading, so much I think my head may explode. This busy period has been compounded by spending time with extended relatives from Italy. This is fun in and of itself, except they don’t speak any English. What about my Italian? Well let’s just say it’s never got much beyond “Uno birra per favore”. So we find ourselves miming and pointing a lot. Interestingly this doesn’t seem to slow the conversation at all and much is discussed and understood. Pictures are admired, cooking complimented and presents wrapped with equal facility. We are starting to evolve our own language, a curious mix of terms which are making sense to us all. Some of the words aren’t even English or Italian, so far we’ve incorporated German, SpanishLanguage i and French into our emerging lexicon.

This learning has brought into sharp focus two particular things, particularly from an NLP standpoint (don’t worry, no jargon).

Firstly, the meaning of any communication is the response it elicits. So bearing in mind that you can’t “not communicate” (think how often your body language is more eloquent than anything you could say) it’s amazing how much we can communicate with a limited vocabulary and the magic ingredient of goodwill. Whilst I could go and learn Italian and take lots of time over it, I’m not sure the communication would be any better. Obviously we’d be able to discourse on the state of the world and politics but then, who wants to do that at Christmas?

Secondly, we have all the “resources” we need.  This was going to be a post solely about communication but as I wrote I got to thinking about areas where I want to develop skills. Areas such as blogging, which I never thought I’d make the leap in to until a few weeks ago and the intervention of a fairy godmother. I’m still not sure I have a great ability to write but that hasn’t stopped me and I’ve had some lovely feedback which is starting to change that opinion too. I had that in me all along but never knew until now. Similarly I didn’t realise I had an ability to help create a crazy new language for a few days so who knows what else I may be capable of? As for my clients, well I believe that they have all they need tucked away somewhere inside, it’s my job as their coach to shine a light so that they can find their own answers.

Which brings me finally (and unexpectedly) to a conversation I had last week with someone, thankfully in English and with a clear message. I was in the lucky position of being able to tell someone that they “are enough”, that they were all the things they aspired to be and many more positive things too. The effect on that person was profound and tears were gratefully shed. I’ve never actually met this person face to face and yet we found the way to communicate important truths. So just imagine how powerful it could be to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you, how amazing it would be to end a family feud or more prosaically, find a new way to communicate with colleagues next year.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
This entry was posted in Coaching, Resilience and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Language is overrated, be resourceful instead.

  1. Eddy says:

    Thank you for another timely share.
    Go well

  2. Bina Briggs says:

    Hi Jon,
    Here are my comments, just something that struck a chord with me about Communication:-
    Over some years, Hubby and I used to visit the Le Mans 24 Motor Race on an annual basis. After a couple of different experiments of finding somewhere to stay for the week, we found by chance a lovely farm house chambre d’hote. Madame and Monseiur Bordeau did not speak much English, we didn’t speak much French. The willingness of both parties to communicate started a great frendship, communication was in Franglais!
    Moreover, the place was popular with race support team members so often there was a true European feel to the place with nationalities such as Germans, British, Dutch, Belgians and Italians staying there.
    We all used to get together on the Sunday evening after the race, Madame would bring out a few bottles of Champagne and home made 100% proof calvados and cake!
    Apart from the Belgians, none of us really spoke more than our own language and yet we used to have a fabulous time chatting away, sharing our experiences of the race and learning about each other.
    In more recent years, we’ve had the same experience in Spain and Poland! We do not need to be fluent but each time we’ve had a fantastic time with our friends and their families in their own homes. This is because there’s been a willingness on all parties to ovecome the barrier of not knowing each other’s languages.

    Compliments of the season!


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