How To Improve Communication: Convincing vs Enlightening

Apr 30, 2024

How many of you, as part of your job, need to educate or train people? You have to convey information effectively. Take a look around—that’s many of us. Recently, Cole shared something that I’ve been pondering: the distinction between convincing and enlightening.

As a facilitator, leader, trainer, or educator, there’s a significant difference in approach. It involves either trying to convince someone that they should only ask ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions, or guiding them through an experience where the response might be, “I don’t know. What do you think?” This dynamic between convincing and enlightening is crucial.

Ironically, I’d like you to disregard everything I’ve said in the last couple of hours and instead answer one of my favorite questions: “What is one thing life is teaching you right now?”

Reflecting on Life’s Lessons

Consider the time we’ve spent together today. What is one lesson life is offering you at this moment? I encourage everyone to think about their own response.

If you’re not speaking, consider this perspective: John Matthews, who founded Whole Foods, shared an enlightening thought at a conference. He suggested imagining a world where everyone except you is enlightened. The person who cuts you off on the highway? They’re enlightened, and in that moment, your lesson might be to learn patience.

Imagine that each person you encounter is incredibly wise. Listen to them with this mindset, especially as they share their insights on what life is teaching them. It could be a reminder to connect more deeply with others.

Engaging in Group Reflection

As we close this session, I invite you to engage in a group reflection. Go around your table and share your thoughts on the question: “What is one thing life is teaching you right now?” Start with whoever wants to begin and continue to the left.

This exercise is an opportunity to drop into a state of reflection about what life is teaching us at this very moment.