What Honest Communication Really Looks Like
My guest today is consultant and speaker Steven Gaffney. He runs a wildly successful seven figure business and is in the National Speakers Association Million Dollar Club. His platform is honest communication. He’s tall, dark and handsome, he’s rich and his platform is honest communication (like the perfect man). He’s the author of five books: Just Be Honest, Honesty Works, Honesty Sells, Guide To Increasing Communication Flow Up Down And Across and 21 Rules For Delivering Difficult Messages. His latest book is Be A Change Champion: 10 Factors for Sustaining the Boom and Avoiding the Bust of Change.
Honest communication: People tell Steven “I am honest” and he will say “Well you’re probably lying.” This is not about the ethical point of view about truth or lies. The biggest problem is not what people say it’s what they leave out, what they don’t say. If you can get others to get the unsaid said so they can speak their truth and we can speak our truth without somebody flipping out on us then relationships are dramatically improved.
Recognizing dishonesty: Someone who only shows one emotion is most likely lying. Why? Because human beings have a range of emotions. If you’ve ever had anyone say to you “Everything is great!”, that’s impossible. Likewise, someone who is always complaining and belly aching is also not telling you the truth. It doesn’t matter how miserable they are inside, there are at least some good things they can be happy about.
Too much truth: There is a saying we all grew up with which is “treat others the way you want to be treated.” If the roles were reversed, what would you have wanted the person to say to you? Everyone always says they would want them to tell the truth. Someone who is over sharing is still being dishonest because they are doing a lot of talking but aren’t really saying what’s on their mind.
Blind spots: We don’t always recognize how we come across to others. The reason we need to get feedback is because we really are blind to how we come across. Sometimes somebody will say “I’m aware of my blind spots.” Do you realize how silly that sounds? If you knew what your blind spot was it would no longer be a blind spot. This is the value of having really good friends and people that will speak our truth. That’s why we want to cultivate a relationship with people that will actually speak their truth to us. When they do even if we don’t like it we should at least appreciate that they’re speaking their truth to us. That’s how we learn and grow.
Hurting people’s feelings: When you say “I have some feedback to give you, is it okay?” or “Do you really want to hear the truth?”, they can already tell it’s not going to be the most favorable. A lot of times people will say they are being honest but they are really being brutal. There’s a big difference between honesty and brutality.
Three keys to good, honest communication:
1. Be fact-based.
2. Make a request.
3. End with an appreciation.
State the facts, make a request and end with an appreciation. For example “I noticed that you said you didn’t want to hear about what happened to me yesterday. My request is I’d like to share with you what happened because I think it’s really important as we look at what we’re doing moving forward. Because I really do appreciate our relationship and I value us having an open, honest communication.”
- You can reach Steven at his website stevengaffney.com where you will find a lot of free articles and videos.
- If you do something that Steven shared in this interview and send him an email about it he will send you the electronic version of his first book Just Be Honest for free!
- Steven’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Read Geeta’s blog for a review of Gay Hendricks book The Big Leap which she reviews as being one of the best books she read in 2015.
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