If you have ever seen or learnt Salsa dancing, just like salsa "sauce", you will understand that in many Latin American countries it is a mixture of different characteristics, styles and of course different ingredients. For example, characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, steps, direction, patterns, body movement, attitude, influences and the way that the partners hold each other.
It is interesting to note then the parallels which can be drawn between dancing and communication, which in order to be effective both involve an exchange of energy between two individuals who must are present, connected, engaged and trusting. Just like salsa each of us has different characteristics, styles and preferences for communicating based on our life experiences, cultural background, education, family dynamics and position as well as our awareness and willingness to learn and grow.
Like an effective dance, both partners must be able to hold space for successful communication to occur, be willing to trust and support each other, allow the body to make the necessary movements, have confidence to stay in flow with each other and in time with the music as well as to give and receive to each other in balance.
Please allow me to share some characteristics, styles and of course different ingredients that you can start using in your everyday life to support you in creating and engaging in more conscious connected conversations and dance with those who cross your path.
Presence: Make sure you are present, focused on the now and in the moment, rather than thinking about the past or what is to come, use your breath to help you with this
Attention: Intentionally place your focus and attention on the other person so that you are really able to listen, hear and connect with what they are saying, how they are saying it so that you understand
Awareness: Observe and be aware of what is taking place, how you are feeling within, how you are listening, speaking, your facial expressions, body movements, gestures, tone of voice and level of eye contact as well as what is happening around you
Engage: Allow yourself to contribute to the communication by answering with words that connect with what the other person has said or asked by mirroring words back it allows energy to flow more effectively
Balance: Ensure that there is a balanced flow of listening and speaking, feelings and emotions, questions and answers, intellect and creativity, stillness and movement, subjectivity and objectivity in your communications
Responsibility: Take personal responsibility for improving the connection, how you are contributing or not contributing, the way you are engaging with each other as well as the level of patience, trust and respect you are showing each other
Slow down: Allow yourself to pause and take a moment before speaking or engaging, this will help to ensure you respond to the other person rather than react (love rather than ego)
Now that you understand some of the characteristics that can help create successful exchanges in communication, why not create your dance space, grab your partner and start adding some of your own spicy ingredients to the mix to help you start Salsa dancing your way to more present, connected, engaged and trusting communication with other people in your life.
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