Two for Tea

two for tea imageDrinking tea with others is a ritual in many countries.  Surprisingly, Turkey and Morocco consume more tea than countries we would normally think of, like England.  For some there is a protocol on how it should be prepared and drunk, and some may even make it more ceremonial.

The bigger issue is that it is a moment in time where we can calmly enjoy the company of others in a peaceful setting.  Although many teas contain caffeine, there is still a sense of stillness and tranquility when sharing a cup of tea with others.  Having said that, this is also an opportunity to really engage others, although that may be difficult because many people feel they do not communicate well.

I recently listened to a webinar on being a more effective communicator.  There is so much to communicating that many people do not realize.  It is not just about blurting out whatever comes into our minds.  Other factors that play into this are non-verbal cues, tone of voice, emotions, and even listening.  It is quite a complicated process!

In addition, I feel the state of mind we are in at that time can affect how we communicate.  If I am in a bad mood but am in a party like setting, I may come off as angry, frustrated or sad.  If I am in that same mood in a more somber setting, what I say may even be heard as jovial because the listener(s) are worse off than I am.  We need to take a step back sometimes and really pay attention to the whole person who is communicating, but we rarely do that. Instead we are formulating what we want to say next.

So if you are desirous of being understood better and also really want to comprehend others, you must learn to pause and think.  I realize that it is very hard to do in the fast paced environment that we live in.  However pausing is so powerful and you can do it easily in a setting like drinking tea because all you need to do is take a sip!

To improve your communication skills, you need to practice, practice, practice.  Try talking to a trusted friend or colleague.  Don’t tell them what you are trying to do, but see if after the conversation whether or not you retained more of what they said.  Were you able to ask better questions and make more pronounced statements?  Was it more of a worthwhile interaction?  Did you feel you had a better understanding of the other person?  Did you ask questions that really drew the person out even though you have known that person a long time?

If you claim you are not a tea drinker, try it one more time and savor the moment.  If you feel you are struggling when communicating with the other person, then just talk about how good the tea is or that next time you would prefer a different beverage!  Keep your words simple and ask their opinion.  Be patient with yourself and the other person(s).  If nothing else, enjoy this time and add a spoonful of sugar if necessary.