So, there I was in Greece. The first time I traveled in Europe and I was jazzed! For the past 25 years I had been teaching people how to communicate through my workshops, seminars, coaching programs and national PBS television series. I knew a lot about how to communicate but in Greece I had a wake-up call and his name was Aldo.
We gathered on the terrace of the hotel in the old town of Rhodes where a group had assembled to explore the ancient castles and go shopping. We were in Greece to celebrate the wedding of some friends. I was soon introduced to Aldo, an Italian man who arrived from Venice to join our group. Before long, he and I were alone on the terrace and I began chatting in English. I thought we were doing great until he, looking a bit confused, smiled, reached over, gently grabbed my arm, and said, with the most amazing Italian accent, “Please, you’ve got to slow down!”
Aldo reminded me how arrogant Americans can be, expecting everyone to know and understand English. He reminded me how important it is to be fully present and mindful in each and every interaction. And, he reminded me to slow down.
Aldo was the inspiration for a four part communication process I call The Way of ALDO.
- Assume nothing; keep an open mind and never take anything for granted. When in doubt, check it out!
- Listen carefully. Show the speaker you care. Nod your head. Give eye-contact.Pay attention to the speaker’s non-veral language.
- Don’t rush. Enjoy the conversation. Be with it wherever it leads you.
- Observe everything– the sparkle in the eye, the sky above, the smells around you, the wind against your skin. Simply be fully present with the encounter.
Sometimes we have to travel a long distance to rediscover a simple truth; life is not a race, but rather an experience to be savored. Thus, The Way of Aldo. Use it. It works!