This illustration is a visual depicting one of the key concepts we often use as a framework for facilitating group dialogue. We describe communication as having 3 levels: Trivia (facts), Head (opinions) and Heart (beliefs).
When we meet people for the first time, we tend to talk only about facts and trivial topics such as the weather.
As we get to know each other better, we may begin to offer thoughts and opinions. We’re opening up a bit more, revealing parts of ourselves.
In some relationships, we feel able to speak straight from our heart, and share our beliefs, values, our truth. This can seem scary sometimes, but when we can speak from this place, our authenticity comes thru loud and clear.
It takes courage to not only be aware of these levels of communication, but to willingly move between them as the case may require. For while speaking from your heart is the more satisfying experience (for speakers and listeners alike); it’s not always appropriate.
Sometimes, such as in the military, it’s essential to only speak from trivia. Any more information than the simple facts will create unnecessary complexity that may compromise a mission.
Great leaders though, know that to inspire others to follow them willingly (by influence and respect rather than by authority), they must develop the capacity to dip down into the heart and share times where they made mistakes, were embarrassed, or failed to achieve a goal.
It’s counterintuitive: to admit a time of struggle seems like it would weaken our position, but actually it shows our strength! In having the willingness to demonstrate their own vulnerability, leaders show us they are human too, inspire us to learn from them, and convey that we can trust they will provide the purpose, process and protection we need to accomplish our work.
As you can see, when we dive down from the facts to opinions to beliefs, speaking up seems more and more risky. But is SO much more rewarding!
When are times that you’ve spoken from your heart and it’s produced great results for you? Share your story with us in a blog comment below!