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How Your Values and Beliefs Affect Your Communication

This weekend I have been reading with interest some articles on Facebook, the news and Twitter and have noticed more and more how our values and beliefs systems affect what we write and say about others.

The great thing about social media is we can express our opinions about what we believe to be true.

As I learn and observe more about how we interact as humans it's fascinating, from a study point of view, how we judge based on our own bias and opinions.

This blog is in no way meant to criticise it is purely observational and a reflection in self awareness.

There have been many articles recently on Donald Trump, I promise this is not about politics:-). Love him or hate him, and I use these expressions deliberately as there doesn't seem to be an in between for most people, he provokes a reaction based on our values and beliefs. So much so that people march against him and ridicule him whenever they get a chance. 

We judge him based on what we believe to be true.

I read an interesting interview with Angelina Jolie. Again this provoked comments from others, some kind and others very judgemental. Many of these comments were again based on our perception of her life story and perceived privilege.

I know a person who has recently been "trolled" on Twitter for giving their opinion. I saw some Facebook comments which were critical of someone in a photo. All of these based on another person's judgement, another person's perception of the truth.

We all do this, we can't seem to help ourselves. It reminds me of a time I gave a presentation to some police officers. One of  them had been in the police for a long time and attended in a very smart suit.

I was dressed less formally, smart casual I believe we like to call it ;-).

We were completing an exercise on first impressions and I asked for the audiences first impressions of me, I know, asking for trouble but it was part of a wider exercise!

He said he didn't think I worried about what other people thought about me. "Interesting", I said and asked him what he based this on. He said the way I had dressed.

In that one sentence he had given me lots of detail about his belief system. 

Everything we do and say is driven by our beliefs. How many times have you heard yourself say words and think "oh my that was my mum/dad/carer talking?" If you haven't experienced this you might find you do as you get older.

I know I am the same and catch myself saying words based on my own bias.

It's perfectly natural. What we can do is become more aware of ourselves. We can think about what we are writing or saying and the impact it might have. We can reflect on why we feel a particular way and what is making us feel that way.

When we do this we are able to work out our own values and beliefs. We can see where they come from and the words we use to reflect what we believe to be true. The words we use can be so important and what we say about others is really a reflection of ourselves rather than the other person.

We will judge and be judged whatever we do, which is great because we can choose what we are judged on.

Words are powerful, use them wisely :-)

The Communication Coach

Riseley, Bedford MK44, UK

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