07 March 2013

Communication According to Zeng Zi

Ancient Sage reminds us that our character, attitudes and body languages are key factors in communication besides the words we used our messages.
The purpose of communication is to gain understanding, build relationships and accomplish things together. Western mindset may place accomplishment of tasks before relationships. But Chinese and may be Eastern mindset will place relationships before the tasks.  The key point is relationship building is important and communication is more than just the words exchanged.

Stephen Covey's 7 Habits for effective people has a habit 5 seek first to understand and than be understood.  I think it is a key principle for communication.  The ancient Chinese has much to say about communication and relationship building too. I will just quote a simple one from Zeng Zi 曾子, a disciple of Confucius and a senior of Mencius.

 【论语泰伯第八】... 君子所贵乎道者三:
    1. 动容貌,斯远暴慢矣;
    2. 正颜色,斯近信矣;
    3. 出辞气,斯远鄙倍矣

The wise gentleman values the following 3 virtuous behaviors:
  1. His demeanor and manners are far from crudeness and snobbishness.
  2. His facial expression is accepting and trustworthy (near to integrity).
  3. His conversational tone is far from vulgar and unreasonableness.
It shows us that we communicate with our total being such as the status of our heart (peace, happy, grateful or anger and bitter), attitudes, body behavior, facial expression and tone of our voices.

There are some people, usually you can hear them over the radio or read them in their social networking posts, when in trying to impress and be different have erred to wrong side of being crude, rough, vulgar and hatred.  The challenge for good communication is to create harmony, agreement, acceptance and call for actions. We can learn a few things from Zeng Zi.

A few takeaway we can learn are:
  1. Character building is a key part of communication.
  2. Our mental conditions and attitudes affect communication too. Keeping our heart at rest and being  hopeful and sincere are important.
  3. Body Language and Voice control are key factors too. Don't be snobbish, crude, rude, vulgar but be polite, respectful, welcoming and sincere.
Lim Liat (C) 7 March 2013

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