"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
I read this quote yesterday -- Martin Luther King Day -- and thought of the organizations I work with and how often I'm brought in because people have become silent when they should be talking to each other. We focus on communication skills for healthy and safe conversations so that when conflict arises, leaders have effective techniques that express purpose, positive intention, and content in ways others can hear.
Hold the Difficult Conversations
Dr. King was involved in issues of consequence when he spoke these words. It's important to speak up about things that matter, he said. When we fail to do so, we deprive the world and the relationship of our thoughts, ideas, and energy.
When we succumb to fear, we diminish. Our energy contracts; we take up less space. We don't stand for anything. Learning skills to communicate clearly, directly, and respectfully means we live our lives fully.
When you have something to say, why not say it? What are you willing to stand up for? If you're concerned about impact, practice the conversation with a friend, colleague, or coach, and refine your message until it conveys what you mean.
Use emotional energy that connects and words that reflect your purpose. You have more power than you think.
Dr. King wore leadership well. He taught us how to be strong and kind, powerful and compassionate. Healthy communication illustrates the same qualities.
What conversation have you been putting off? What matters to you, and where have you become silent?