Observe without Judgement
Even though I’ve been out of the acting game for awhile – coming up on ten years as a communication specialist – there are still concepts and lessons from my acting training that have become core principles in my communication curriculum.
At the heart of my approach is Noticing vs. Judging.
As an actor you have to be vulnerable. Vulnerability allows your emotions to flow out of you when you’re speaking someone else’s words. Vulnerability is what gives a performance authenticity and an audience glimpses into personal truths.
The enemy at the gates of vulnerability is judgement. An actor must constantly observe their acting choices without passing judgement. Something either worked or didn’t – not was that good or bad.
If an actor becomes hypercritical, then they stuck inside their head and become limited. They hesitate to take risks. The hold back on certain choices. They are shackled to to their comfort zone. It only takes a split second of second guessing to ruin captivating performance.
Each of my training sessions begins with a discussion on the importance of Noticing vs Judging.
Within the scope of daily conversations, influential communication, and leadership skills, this lesson becomes exponentially more important – since it applies to your daily life.
In order to move forward, you need to know your starting point.
Therefore, all of my programs are designed for the audience to take an introspective look at themselves and how they communication with everyone else.
The self exploration can only successful if it is framed in interest and fascination, not of censorship and persecution.
There are more a-ha moments when you can objectively notice the results of your conscious communication choices – or lack there of – without judging yourself. The only filter is, did that work or not?
Noticing vs Judging is also critical when interacting with coworkers, family, friends, … anyone really.
For example, if you were to say, “The sky is blue today,” you would be making an observation about the sky without passing judgement. You don’t think that the sky is being a bastard for being blue. Nor do you think that the sky is bestowing blessings on you for being blue. The sky is just blue.
The same can be applied to interpersonal communications.
Let’s say you walk into a meeting and the person across the table has his arms crossed and is leaning back in his chair with his head cocked to one side. You could think, “Oh great. This guy is going to be a real jerk during this discussion.” But, it’s more effective if you think, “Hm. Okay. He has some defensive body language. I wonder what I could do or say that would get his body language to shift. I will make sure I have open body language to show I’m not a threat to him.”
Noticing the mechanics of the situation give you more freedom in choices than judgmental emotions.
You must never forget that the majority of people have not had extensive (if any) communication training. Therefore, they communicate out of habit. They act instinctively. They say and do things they way they always have. They typically aren’t making conscious, well-thought out word choices and body language decisions. They are reacting.
They are being such a jerk.
She has no interest in what I have to say.
He just wanted to make me angry.
When such judgements seep into your mind, you start to fall into your own emotional, reactionary patterns. It limits you.
Noticing the cause and effect of a conversation is much more effective than being judgmental towards your counterpart.
When you are an observer of such patterns, you are more purposeful in what you say and how you say it.
During any difficult or stressful conversation, it helps to be in a more logical frame of mind. You can accomplish this by observing the moving pieces and adjusting accordingly instead of being overwhelmed by the overarching dynamics.