Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Successful Community Communication Requires Increased Awareness

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Successful Community Communication Requires Increased Awareness

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congress of Cities and Exposition in New Orleans, November 13-17.

Within the communities of America, there is an ongoing cycle of change and demographic shifts. Depending upon where you live, these changes can present a new frontier for political leaders every six months.

Each encounter in these diverse communities involves a series of face-to-face human interactions to which we bring our different experiences, perceptions, values, biases, cultures and assumptions. In these one-to-one interactions, the political leader has no control over the other person, who is reacting to the verbal and non-verbal behavior displayed by the political leader and vice versa. In many of these one-to-one interdependent relationships, we receive behaviors from others that may not be in our best interest.

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At these moments there is a tendency to point the finger at the other person and blame the other person for our own behavioral choices. The other person may be reacting to behaviors that you unconsciously demonstrate. In our increasingly diverse communities, it is important to raise our individual awareness about behaviors that we demonstrate to others, verbally and non-verbally.

The most critical area of leadership behavior is demonstrated via non-verbal behavior. It is generalized that 90 percent of a message is derived and demonstrated by non-verbal behaviors. Individually, a person may have at least 20 percent awareness of their own non-verbal behaviors; consequently, a person could be unaware of non-verbal behaviors being demonstrated to others. These behaviors may include shaking hands, eye contact, how close you stand to another person, hand gestures or other indicators. …

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