Can you hear me now? Good.

| Joshua Parkinson

Simply put, being able to create a positive communication climate is my goal. I want to
do more than just communicate well, I want to create a climate in which communication flows
naturally and positively. I have a lot of questions on this topic. The question that puzzles me the
most is “How can you create a positive communication climate with someone you don’t like or
disagree with?” I am one who thinks too much for my own good, especially when it comes to
communicating with others. I will dissect something someone has said until there’s nothing left
and then I’ll keep going. It’s really not a good thing. With this question in mind, I started my
research and found two incredible articles. One, found in the LDSBC Library, is entitled “The
Power of Positive Language” by Sarah L. Simoneaux and Chris L. Stroud and dives deeper into
the art of communicating positively even if you are saying “no” to someone. The other is from
TED talks and is entitled “10 ways to have a better conversation” by Celeste Headlee. Celeste
Headlee dives deeper into the dos and don’ts of a conversation – even things she says experts
have gotten wrong about conversations.
What have I gained from reading and watching these two articles? What principles have
I found? What “golden nuggets” have I walked away with? One of the clearest principles I
noticed in both articles was needing to have the ability to set aside yourself and be in the
conversation – no matter if you like the person or agree with what they’re saying or both. I have
always known about this principle but, to be honest, I never thought of this in relation to being a
key principle when creating a positive climate of communication. “All experiences are
individual. And, more importantly, it is not about you. You don’t need to take that moment to
prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve suffered.” (Headlee, 2016) She goes on to say
how she feels like what makes her such a great host to others is the fact that she “keeps her

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Can you hear me now? Good. | Joshua Parkinson

mouth shut as often as [she] possibly can, [she] keeps [her] mind open, and [she’s] always
prepared to be amazed, and [she’s] never disappointed.” (Headlee, 2015)
When we set aside ourselves and truly “live in the moment”, something amazing happens
– we actually start listening to understand instead of listening to respond. This principle is
something I struggle with, especially when I disagree with the other person. I have this inner
struggle of wanting to prove that I am smart to whomever I am talking to or maybe even prove a
point and when I do this, I do not listen. I stop seeking to understand and I start seeking to
respond. This is another crucial principle I need to understand because when someone feels like
you are seeking to understand them, the climate naturally becomes positive. Both parties walk
away feeling enlightened, empowered and understood.
Being understood is one of the deepest desires of human beings. We all want to be
understood and we all want to feel important. In order to first understand, so we can be
understood, we need to realize there are two parts to any “touch” or interaction we have with
others (Simoneaux, Stroud 2014). This principle was interesting to me because, for one, I’ve
never heard of an interaction referred to as a “touch”. Secondly, the principle is such a simple
one I feel like I should have a handle on it by now. The first part is the interaction itself – the
striking up of a conversation, phone call, email, etc. The second part is the emotional side of
things – how did this make the other person feel? “Did it effect the [other person] in a positive,
negative, or neutral way?” (Simoneaux, Stroud 2014) This is a great definition of conscious
communication – actually thinking about how the other person is feeling regardless of how you
feel about them. This is something I already do quite a bit of but I tend to utilize the negative
aspect of it. I tend to over think this principle when I simply need to be aware of what I’m
saying, how I’m saying it and if what I’ve said has impacted the other in a positive way.
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Can you hear me now? Good. | Joshua Parkinson

Celeste Headlee says “All of this boils down to the same basic concept, and it is this one: Be
interested in other people.” (Headlee, 2015) It’s so true! Being interested in other people
coincides with this “touch” principle perfectly. If we are interested in other people, we can’t help
but want to set ourselves aside. We can’t help but live in the moment. We can’t help but
consciously be aware of what the other person is saying and feeling. In a nut shell, creating a
positive communication environment stems from the eternal principle of charity. “And charity
suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own…”
(Moroni 7:45)
Now, what better place to figure out how to apply these principles than in the workplace?
Where else do you communicate with others in every situation possible (other than marriage that
is)? I plan to do just this. I plan to take what I’ve learned with this paper and apply it to the
workplace by setting a “communication goal” for each day. These goals will follow guidelines
that are linked to the principles I studied: Is this goal keeping my focus on others – helping me
set myself aside? Is this goal helping me seek understanding? Is this goal helping me
communicate positively with others? My goals for each day will be specifically tied to
communicating with clients and my co-workers. I have a co-worker, Adam, who is always fun to
talk to. Yet sometimes I find myself trying to “compete” with him, in a sense, about how well
the day is going or how many clients I was able to service over the clients he was able to service
– just simple, silly things like that. I believe in setting these communication goals each day, my
relationship with Adam will improve as well as my relationship with my boss and each one of
our clients. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and, most importantly, be prepared to be
amazed.” (Headlee, 2015)

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Can you hear me now? Good. | Joshua Parkinson

References
Headlee, Celeste. (2015). TEDxCreativeCoast. 10 ways to have a better conversation.
Retrieved from:
http://www.ted.com/talks/celeste_headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation/trans
cript?language=en
Simoneaux, Sarah L., Stroud, Chris L. (2014) Business Source Premier. The Power of Positive
Language. Retrieved from:
https://search.lib.byu.edu/ldsbc/record/edsldsbc.buh.96971070?
holding=czbvmsriv9t02hpz

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