Mixed messages – is it winter or spring?

Crocuses and signs of spring

Over the last few weeks I have been watching buds appearing on trees and bulbs pushing up through the earth to reveal the glory of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils. I have been experiencing the joy of walking along the same paths or driving along the same roads and seeing the changes in the verges and hedgerows each time I pass. I have even seen some downy white blossom on a tree in my local park which stands out as a sharp contrast to the bare branches of all the other trees.


These to me are signs of spring and the start of the new growing season and yet the meteorologists tell us that we are still in winter and that spring starts on the 1st March. If we look at the astronomical season we must wait until the 20th March for spring to arrive. The weather most definitely feels like winter.


I am getting mixed messages from nature and which should I rely on, the weather or the plants?


How often in life do we get mixed messages too? A simple example is when we listen to someone and what they say, the words, is inconsistent with how they say it, their tone of voice and body language. In this case their non-verbal communication will usually override their words.


If we receive mixed messages, we may well be giving them too.


During the presentation skills workshops that I run; it often comes as quite a shock to the participants when they learn this. By paying attention to how they present rather than what they present completely transforms the impact they make on their audience.


How to avoid giving mixed messages when communicating – be clear on what you want to communicate, check that you believe what you are saying and you will then be consistent in both what you say and how you say it.


How to pick up on mixed messages when receiving – listen to the whole message. We call it whole body listening which means the words that are being said, the tone of voice that you are hearing and the body language that you are seeing. You might need to ask some questions to clarify that you are understanding the message intended by the person who is communicating with you.


My final tip for dealing with mixed messages is to choose face-to-face or telephone communication over email or text communication whenever the meaning could be misinterpreted.


As for whether it is winter or spring, I am choosing spring…

If you would like to develop your communication or presentation style, call me on 01189690783 or email me at j.harris@breathoffreshair.uk.com .

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