Communicating At The Right Level
I recently took my dog on an airplane for the first time. Romy is an 8-year-old Yorkie who is the canine version of someone you’d see on Jersey Shore. He’s a little emperor who never had to be crate trained because he lives life wherever he wants.
So being cooped up in a new carrier for three hours of air travel felt to him like a month on Alcatraz Island. He was well behaved but got fussy here and there as you might expect.
We were standing in line at Love Field’s food court for some orange chicken and noodles when he started chirping about my newfound, tyrannical methods of pet ownership. He wasn’t impressed that I had bought the Cadillac of dog carriers.
“Just chill dude,” I said as casually as if we were debating dinnertime at home.
That’s when the woman standing behind us in line peered over my shoulder and said, “You sound like you’re talking to your kid.”
If you’ve ever had a great dog then you know they are like furry kids in a sense, but her comment got me thinking.
Even when communicating to kids I’ve always talked to them like they are people. I might be a bit more playful with young tots, but I prefer to speak to children as I would any adult. Whether I’m asking how their day went or how they plan to approach whatever problems they’re expressing, I like to see how they listen and respond when addressed as fellow human people.
I was the same way during my decade’s worth of teaching college students. I tried to never talk down to them but rather at the level I wanted them to reach.
Benefits of Communicating at the Right Level
Some might consider this aspirational communication, but it’s important to speak up to others for a couple of reasons.
1. Talking down to people is simply rude.
For one thing, it never pays to be condescending. And for professionals and entrepreneurs it can also be costly. At best, colleagues and clients will be put off by the arrogance. At worst, they will decide to work with someone else who doesn’t act like a egotistical jerk.
2. Talking up to people empowers them.
By communicating respectfully, we have the opportunity to elevate others. Speaking up to people should help them feel valued, appreciated, and full of potential. View your words as elevators to take people to the next level. They’ll be far more appreciative than my dog Romeo was when I took him to new heights on that plane.
There is no shortage of voices in this world putting us down and beating us up each day. We have the ability to communicate in the face of that negativity. In so doing, we will lift others up and stand out in a way that is positively magnetic.