Everything I know about communication, I learned from my cats or
What do you want and how you can get it by Coach Joelle
Last summer I had the privilege of working with 5 (count em!) amazing interns to help bring the gift of coaching to the world in new and exciting ways. Two of these special young women, Lashawn and Teresa, helped make a little dream reality by shooting and editing the delightful videos I am about to share with you.
It is something I had been thinking about for sometime, as over the years I had found to my delight that I was witnessing lessons in effective (and ineffective) communication from a most unexpected place, in my day to day interactions with my cats.
One after another, each kitty demonstrated their ability to elicit responses from their two-legged family members (me and my husband) through a variety of antics, from enticing petting through the welcoming display of a furry belly, to unapologetically demanding attention through incessant meowing or head batting (you'll see.) I was tickled to see how they were demonstrating all the best ways to get what you need as well as the ways to ensure you do nothing but annoy and pester while never get your needs met.
Below I have included 4 links to the videos which represent our attempts to catch these lessons on tape in what we have titled "What do You Want and How You Can Get It." May the furry ones' foiled efforts, save you from these common mistakes and allow you to more effortlessly get what you need.
PART 1: The Perils of Mind Reading
Part 1 of this four part series explores the hazards of expecting the world to read your mind; an all too common communication downfall and a really crummy way to try to get what you want. If you are ready to...
Up your communication skills
Stop beating your head against the wall
And start getting what you want
Check out the first instalment of What Do You Want and How to Get It.
PART 2: Don't Be A Nag
I hope you enjoyed meeting Linguine (see part 1 video) and that you are starting to recognize where you are expecting people to read your mind, realizing that it's a recipe for un-met expectations. In Part 2, the very persistent Bandit (may she rest in peace) shows us a couple more less-than-effective ways to try to get what you want.
Watch and learn!
PART 3: Being Sneaky Is Out
While the previous examples have certainly demonstrated less than desirable ways to try to get what you want, few are more damaging that this all-too-common scenario in businesses, friendships and marriages that my cat Xanadu (A.K.A Xana-belli) skilfully demonstrates in Part 3.
If you have ever had someone do something nice for you only to find out they were buttering you up for a future favor, then you know the sting of this particular obstacle to effective communication.
Or perhaps at some point you may have been the sneaky one, thinking that if you just say "yes" one more time to them, you will have earned a yes the next time you come asking. Hmmm?
While it may seem like a good idea at the time, it unfortunately reeks of manipulation (I know, strong word) and all too often leaves the other party feeling used, or snookered, leaving the other party leery of future seemingly "altruistic" acts.
Watch and learn from the master manipulator what not to do when you are out to get what you want.
PART 4: The Power of Requests
In the fourth and final instalment, we come to the resolution of the Kitty Communication Conundrum! After all of the lessons on how not to get what you want, the precious Lucky (who we affectionately call "The splotch") demonstrates the simplest, easiest way to get what you need (just a hint - it is the most obvious, cleanest, direct way to do it, and amazingly, it usually works!)
The moral of the story so skillfully told by my fur children is this, if you want something, ask for it! Ask clearly, calmly and directly. After all, the worst that could happen is that they say no.
And the truth is that when people actually get up the courage to ask for what they need, they are often surprised at how easy it was and how agreeable people can be when they are not being pestered, demanded of, tricked or expected to read minds.
The Invitation: To begin getting what you need, make a list of all the things that you want but have not yet clearly asked for. Take the top three and commit to making your clear requests in the next few days.
What you are likely to find is that what seemed painfully hard the first time will get easier with practice and in no time, you will become a request making machine!! So, get to it!
Wishing you power, great communication and the effortless fulfillment of your needs through clear requests.