January marks the final month of our
#DareToBePolite campaign with a close examination on communication. Long gone
are the days of face-to-face conversations, having a
tête-à-tête on
the telephone, or sending one’s heartfelt thoughts in writing on card stock
through snail mail. Who would’ve known that in 2015 smartphones would take over
our lives and texting would become the premiere mode of engagement? With kids
basically spearheading the movement, adults have closely followed suit and
practically everyone is tapping away at lightning speed everything from making
a plan and hashing out an altercation to posting a photograph or saying thank you.
And we wonder why are lives are littered with communication breakdowns?  It is virtually impossible to convey your feelings,
philosophies and tirades on a tiny tablet. We need more space and we need more
personal interaction.  While one could
argue that technology has enhanced our ability to connect, it has
simultaneously drawn us more apart than ever. 
As a nation and as a world, we are suffering from lack of contact.

For the next several weeks we will be studying
communication and surveying where we fall short to determine what needs
improvement and which skills to hone. The purpose of this 21-day practice is to
become more mindful in all forms of communication, to halt further breakdowns and
promote a few breakthroughs. If nothing else, this should increase awareness and
responsibility for what you say whether in the written or spoken form. If you
need validation from the outside, just look at the recent Sony debacle as an
example of what
not to do. Never put
anything in writing, in jest or otherwise, that could potentially come
back to haunt you. This example is one excellent reason for going old school
and conversing in person. At least this way your words are not permanently on
record. Unless, of course, you are someone with a high profile like Donald
Sterling and your mistress has you on wiretap. 
It is well obvious that no conversation is truly private anymore. You
have to be highly cautious of who you speak to and ultra-selective with your
choice of words.  You might even do
yourself a favor and watch an episode of “Downton Abbey” as an excellent
exercise in restraint. Their words are few, but potent and always eloquently
conveyed even if bitterly cunning.   

Step 3/Week 1: Communication: Have a face to face
For the next seven days we encourage you to ditch your phone in favor of
getting in front of people.  Make a plan
to meet for a meal. Schedule an outing for a walk in the park. Arrange a visit
with someone you’ve lost touch with. When you’re in their presence, be fully
present, not multi-tasking.  Study their
features, notice their mannerisms, listen to their tone of voice, check out
their body language.  These are all
subtle cues and clues that will help you with your interpersonal interaction. At
the same time, explore your own.  What are
you saying with your body? Are your facial expressions revealing a greater
story than the words coming out of your mouth?  Are you brusque and habitually say the wrong
thing or do you process each thought before saying it? Do you keep yourself
guarded or do you willingly disclose personal details? Share with us what you
observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to