Communication Part 2 – Definitions and Distinctions

Are you missing the connection in your communication to others?  You might be if you’re stubbornly holding onto an outdated paradigm– a presumption about life based on the “facts” you were told as a child.  One great way to challenge and expand your thinking is to highlight distinctions.

Distinctions are two similar words compared.  One of the words naturally communicates a stronger meaning or   an upgrade in belief  to a more sophisticated approach.  Great value lies in understanding the often subtle differences between two similar words because, more than straight semantics, the distinction represents the degree of mastery and evolution.

Evolve your communication

  1. Identify your own distinctions between each of the words in the following word pairs.
  2. Compare your understanding with the one listed here.  Are we close or miles apart?
  3. Ask yourself which of these words best describes your approach to communication now.
  4. Fully release the weaker term.
  5. Know and fully orient your communication around the first word each pair.



Talking vs. Communicating

Talking has little to do with the person you’re speaking to because you’re simply focused on getting what you want to say out there. Communicating means you’ve placed understanding ahead of your need to broadcast.  Communication flows back and forth and creates respect and appreciation.

Your Truth vs. THE Truth

Your truth is your opinion or perspective and may only be true for you. THE truth may never be known and besides, most people aren’t interested in THE truth anyway.  Focus on what’s true for you (believe it) and speak from that.

Listening vs. Hearing

Listening refers to simply receiving an audible  signal, done mostly out of politeness.  Hearing involves actively paying attention to what’s said  (and not said)  to understand “who” the person is so that her message makes sense.  Hearing someone creates connection and demonstrates genuine interest and concern.

Reacting vs. Responding

Reacting is an automatic and unconscious action to a perceived threat.  Reactions are based on past experience and have little to do with the present circumstances.  Responding is mindful and involves objectivity so that conscious choice is made.  Responses are based on the present and move you forward.

Being Present vs. Presence

Being present is a skill based on concentration to actively direct attention to that which is happening in the moment. Presence is an unchanging state from which action is possible.  Being present is an advanced form of observation that removes judgment and resistance so that you can let go of assumptions and habits that tend to separate.  Being present requires two-way connection;  presence makes this possible but doesn’t guarantee it.

Next in this multi-post series about communication:   Profound Relationships. What are they, why are they considered “profound” and how to build them.

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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

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