Transforming the skills into states
The busyness and social conditioning we allowed in our life often prevents us from realizing the difference and interconnections among “skill” and “state“. It is difficult in everyday business communication to make a distinction between skillful routine and connecting with presence and spontaneity.
In a world where knowledge and professional development have an increasing value we tend to put lots of efforts in adding expertise and skills into our portfolios. We often believe that skillfulness is the main reason for being accepted as a trustworthy professional. That is why we constantly want to improve our proficiencies in many ways. As a result of this game we confuse the skill we perform with the state we are in. Even if we realize the difference between them, the skill is more significant – it gets us the job; our true state has minor importance because we learned to act it.
The business world understands skills because it is something measurable; it is easy to verbalize, it could be learnt trough book, teacher or practicing; it is achievement orientated; it requires always improvement, hence stimulate ambitions and competitiveness. Business people are attracted by skillfulness because it gives false sense of confidence and power; it is a source for recognition and approval. Skills are also a comfort zone, a reason to dominate and demonstrate superiority. Being skillful often provokes automatic activities, which successfully hide discomforts, fears or needs.
“States” are exactly the opposite. For the business mindset they are a bit abstract (non measurable). They cannot be “learnt“, they can only be individually experienced. True authenticity comes from accepting the opposites, blending them harmoniously to understand the whole picture and share the essence of our work.
Our business communication at the moment needs more transparency and authenticity. We are tired of witnessing calculated performances of skills and professionally coached image and presentations. Our verbal and written communication is in a deep need of transformation, because the discrepancy between our “inner” world and “outer” expressions is almost unbearable. It is time for every one of us to understand and face what stands on our way to express the plain truth in business situations. This is a personal process and we can be responsible only for ourselves.
The starting point of a transformation is always what we have available at the moment. Most common skills used in today’s business communication give a precise clue about what we value at the moment and what we are missing. Here comes the idea of interconnectedness between “skills“and “states“.
Experiencing a particular state of being helps share our skills authentically, without the pressure of calculating their performance or outcome.
Being present is probably the most difficult state to experience. The “business mind” relies on setting goals and strictly planning their accomplishment. Then every pitch, presentation or conversation has the same taste (focus) of ambitiously following “the big goal“. Without the state of presence this highly valued skill actually disables flexibility, creativity and prevents you from communicating spontaneously.
Applied without integrity, many “soft skills” (“icebreaking“,”asking the right question“,coaching the client, telling stories, leading the conversation, turning negatives, closing, using “personality” to create trust etc.) are often exploited to manipulate fears and directions, to control relationships, to hide the truth. People who can “influence” without being seen as manipulators are considered “leaders” or “good communicators“. Acting has replaced the state of integrity. That is why we want to learn “communicating skills“, take acting lessons to influence effectively and gain more power, money or recognition.
Integrity comes with pain. Many conditionings and survival tactics have to be released. With integrity comes the state of seeing the whole picture and let it happen. Both of them are connected to other highly valued communicating skills like convincing, “turning negatives” and closing.
The above states are known, although rarely observed in everyday business communication. There are few almost missing and unexplored. It is difficult to find particular skills to relate to them.
- Authenticity seen as ability to connect without hiding the truth
- Awareness seen as witnessing oneself detached from the past and future
- Responsibility for your participation in the true processes of integration instead of “fitting” in models and trends
- Discipline seen as learning process as oppose to following rules
Communication is the most useful instrument to connect with others. It is a product of our skills. Witnessing yourself as a source of communication is a state. Our business interactions are craving for this organic blend between “skill” and “state“. I see communication as one of the most powerful transformational tools to help this process. When we integrate the “missing states” we would not have any hidden reason to communicate. Connecting will become a state of being where you share your skills with presence, integrity and authenticity. It is a long way. Nothing is predictable. There is no manual. Becoming ordinary business individual, able to face and express our truth is worth all the efforts.