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When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. --William Arthur Ward

9 Ways to Serve through Communication

--by Birju Pandya, syndicated from charityfocus.org, Nov 28, 2011
As I continue along the path of giving, I’m learning of the constant opportunity to act from a space of service.  A recent personal insight in this space is how communicating with an intention to serve leads to markedly different behaviors.  Some examples below:
+ Share only to the extent that its genuinely other-centric (not to bolster one's own ego).
+ Sharing from a perspective of ‘bridge building’ to ensure that person-to-person connection, along with authentic adherence to one’s values, is of utmost importance (e.g., ‘proving’ that one is right is useless if you lose the connection along the way)
+ Speaking consciously so as to not arouse fear, desire, anger in the other person as these sensations take others off their balance
+ Summarizing thoughts succinctly so as not to force the other to decipher the meaning of one’s thought (e.g., starting with the point and then elaborating as much as the listener wants)
+ Incorporating pauses into one’s speech to allow for others to jump in and co-create if there is a desire
+ Approaching the experience without a personal agenda (e.g., not thinking of a response when listening)
+ Maintaining consistent eye contact and mirroring body positioning
+ Asking questions geared towards building bridges and helping others gain personal insights (e.g., open-ended questions coming from a place of not knowing the answers)
+ Creating space with silence during the conversation (e.g., not speaking the second another is finished so others feel more deeply heard)
Common knowledge to some, but in many ways new to me.  It’s also worth mentioning that I’m only beginning to learn this and have a long way to go!
In this service process, it’s important to not put the cart before the horse.  The behaviors themselves are simply manifestations of the inner desire to serve.  Behaviors without the intention may fool people for a while, but in the end the inner motives are discovered (not to mention that this leads to unhappiness for the practitioner).
The funny thing is, as these behaviors come out from intention, more often than not, they are reciprocated.  What we end up with is true communication - no giving or receiving but instead sharing at the deepest level.
So, the key to it all is to continue cultivating and deepening the intention to serve in a very earnest way.  As that continues, more and more ‘external manifestations’ (like communication style) happen, but they are merely flowers born of the roots, not the roots themselves.

Birju Pandya is primarily focused on using business and technology to serve society. He is a Managing Director with Armonia, a private equity firm investing in environment and society. More from Birju Pandya, also on Twitter @birjupandya.  


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