How (and Why) to Lead with Attuned Communication
“Oh, you get me.” This is the experience of attunement: reciprocal receptivity and responsiveness while being centered and present. It’s a powerful experience, and it doesn’t happen by chance.
Attuned communication springs from a practice of embodied self-awareness. By gaining greater access to the part of your brain that provides insight into yourself (prefrontal cortex), you increase your ability to attune to others, as well as increased intuition, body self-regulation, emotional balance, ability to extinguish fear, empathy, and morality.
Attuned communication is more important—and more challenged—when in discomfort or under stress. Fairly common situations like speaking up when there is disagreement, saying No, or enforcing boundaries can activate threat circuity which closes down cognitive function. You know, that horrible feeling of “can’t find the words.” This is why the brain, alone, cannot be counted on in high-stakes situations.
Body is always influencing how we interact and communicate with others. How we are “wired”—our psychoneurobiology—shapes our communication. Embodied obstacles to clear communication include:
- Implicit memory,
- The way we relate to others and how that is held in our physical selves, and
- Automatic responses below consciousness.
This means effective communication skills must be based in psychobiology. Cognitive approaches outlined in self-help books and scripted words are not enough. You’ve got to start with the mind-body. In reality, when you learn to center challenging communications in embodied self-awareness, the access you gain to cognitive resources (i.e. your words) nullify the need for pre-scripted words. You are present with full access to your vast internal resources, including your strengths and values.
How to train for embodied communication:
- Say phrase aloud while noticing the body’s felt-sense response.
- Incorporate a symbolic movement or gesture.
- Practice with another person. Real interaction is essential so you build ability to listen in with your sensory system while seeing and being seen. A coach is ideal for this!
- Build capacity over time and practice until your new behavior becomes embodied.
Why a Leader Needs Attuned Communication
Attuned communication is often pinpointed as one of those “intangible” qualities of a charismatic leader. In fact, it is an embodied skill, and one that you can learn. Attuned communication makes people feel seen and heard. When a leader develops the capacity to feel and center under pressure, using embodied self-awareness, and communicates from a place of true values, they create connections that inspire people to make a difference.
Whole-being well-being expert Liz Garrett translates scientific and metaphysical principles into PRACTICAL APPLICATION leaders use to change their lives, their relationships, their work and, ultimately, the world.