5 Communication Strategies for surviving Christmas – Let’s spare a thought this Christmas for the Royal family.
Whether you love or hate them, you have to accept that having everything you said back to the 1700s broadcast around the world is not comfortable and a one-sided perspective. As the Queen would say: “Recollections may vary”.
Is there anyone amongst us out there who does not have a dysfunctional opportunity at Christmas? Do let me know!!! The prize goes to you, because so many of us are divorced, estranged, have mental illness in the family that is triggered by big gatherings, or just a rainbow sheep (no black sheep here, ba ba) sitting in the wings waiting to strike.
So I have come up with 5 strategies to help you over the coming period. I hope they help.
1. Find ‘rest’
This is not the normal ‘rest’. It does not mean sitting back and relaxing. This is an acting term I use for putting the body into a neutral position when under pressure. You know and I know that the way people stand on one leg, cross their arms and roll their eyes, it can really trigger a disgruntled family member looking for a fight.
So, be as neutral as possible. Stand up straight, put your head back on your body and keep your arms out of the Bermuda triangle (ie off the body). It builds trust and does not look defensive.
If you’d like to know more then please take a listen to this interview with Sadhana Smiles
Did you know we go stiff in our neck, our eyes and our mouth when we are stressed. I have a suggested saying that helps. It is “nod, blink and smile like an idiot” and this little saying, repeated endlessly, will help you keep the head free and loose. Kate, the Princess of Wales is an expert at this, as is Larry Emdur and if you would like more information, do look here.
3. Stay silent, pray. meditate or have a Mantra
The Royal Family’s strategy to date has been to stay silent. I find, he/she who stays silent usually gets the benefit of the doubt, so it rarely a bad strategy. It is just that I, for one, am not capable of doing it.
So you could try prayer or mediation. Again, this is not my expertise, but there are many who tell you prayer helps us receive forgiveness and love and if you have two decades you could read all the benefits of meditation.
However, as a Master Practitioner in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and performer I know that mantras are a terrific way to handle crisis in the very moment of that crisis.
A mantra is a word of phrase repeated (often silently) and used to focus the mind. I find it very useful to direct the mind to positive thought, rather than negative spirals of doom. One I use are “Lord forgive them. They know not what they do”. It makes me laugh anyway.
For more on this please have a look at this LinkedIn post.
If you wasted your evening, as I did, watching the Harry and Meghan documentary Episodes 1, 2, and 3, you will know that Meghan told us there was no one to help her know what to, how to use a fork etc. This has been sharply contested by the people in the know, but you don’t have to be in the Royal Family to know that there IS help out there. There are coaches to help people progress to executive level. I found The Australian School of Etiquette for one and, rest in peace June Dally Watkins. Her programs are going strong to this day.
The thing is that wielding your fork in the wrong direction, grabbing all the turkey and using the wrong napkin can really be annoying. If you have a relative who thinks you are a go-getter, grabbing the first thigh from the turkey could be just the reinforcement they need to lose it, so start watching your habits.
There are many reasons to smile. Smile Direct research tells us that people find you substantially warmer, more welcoming and confident when you smile. More than 67% improvement! However, there is an added bonus. For many, under stress, the voice will shake. This is because of tension, but as a singer I learn that smiling actually helps keep the throat open and recent research has proved it.
When smiling, there are 19 different types of smiles (Resting bitch face is not one of them) and what you see is the Duchenne Smile (above). It involves the eyes as well as the mouth and can be gained with practice under conscious control (have a look at Meghan)
And if all else fails, take the ABC advice and opt out altogether.
May I wish you all the best and good luck!