Think about receiving a text message. You get all the words the other person has said, but how often have you completely missed the point? Imagine you received the following text:
I never said she stole my money. (1)
What does it mean? Where does the meaning come from: the speaker or the listener?
The words we use to communicate are clearly important. They are the basic building block. Yet without congruence with self and others, the words can create confusion. So, what is congruence?
Congruence is the act of different elements being in agreement. Returning to our phrase above, its meaning only comes through agreement between the words and our delivery of the words. This means, when we communicate with others, we should be aiming to ensure our whole demeanour displays and suggests what we intend our words to mean. That includes:
- Use of voice
- Body language
- Our location
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, you can see that the point is we need to be planned to ensure we do not give any mixed message. This requires us to have integrity and be honest with ourselves when communicating with others.
Then there is congruency with the person with whom you are communicating. We also need our communication to resonate with the other person. In a way which demonstrates integrity to who we are we also need to have resonance with the other person in:
- Body language
- Choice of words
- Stories which connect and have shared meaning and importance.
When all aspects of our communication match with who we are and what we are trying to communicate, and this matches with the other person our communication potential to empower change is at its maximum.
Congruent communication = integrity + connection