It’s day five of Spring break, and my 8 year old is challenging my intercultural (aka intergenerational) communications competence. While we have disagreed on a plethora of other things this week (I love my child, I love my child) we both agreed yesterday that “how can I claim to be a great arbitrator, a coach on communicating across lines of difference, when I’m challenged in that area on the homefront.” (I’ve addressed this dynamic at family gatherings in the past.)
But it’s not me…it’s him I exclaim!
So, to have some fun and maybe gain some insight (I’m telling only YOU this–PLEASE do not tell my child!), I googled: “how to approach intercultural communications when the OTHER guy’s an asshole.”
Believe it or not, actually came up with some good advice, a la the “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” In particular, I enjoyed the “Nice Guys Guide to Authority,” by Sonia Simone After all, he wants me to be nice, and I want to maintain some semblance of authority.
But sometimes nice guys don’t project a sense of authority. Everyone wants to spend time with us, but they don’t necessarily want to do what we tell them to.
And make no mistake, my friends, we want them to do what we tell them to.
The main tenets are to 1.) be incredibly good at what you do; 2.) know where you are going; 3.) know your core; 4.) get your ego out of the way; and 5.) be disarming.
I found the ideas above, paired with Simone’s “The Toddler’s Guide to Salesmanship,” (the value of repetition, surprise humor, or a favorite one I heard on NPR once, that for kids, negotiating begins at “no”) to be the perfect combination of strategies to reenergize and continue to work at what is and can only be a lifelong relationship full of love.
The only thing I would add is the value of separation–that sometimes when negotiations or a project become too challenging, it’s good to step away for brief respite, to re-focus and re-engergize, even if it’s only for an hour or two.
How do you handle challenging communications? Do you “practice what you preach” in your professional and personal communications? Can you say babysitter?
Photo Credit childbehaviorproblems.xango.com