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How To Communicate Like a Buddhist: A Review

how to communicate like a buddhist
By Melissa Bondar

So the latest in my list of projects I’ve been working on during this pandemic was a course that caught my eye on Facebook – How to Communicate Like a Buddhist.

Stage Managers are the hub of communication for a production. Buddhists aim to communicate in ways that are kind, honest and helpful.

So I thought, let’s do it.

The course is offered through a website called DailyOM, which has a wide variety of yoga, meditation, self improvements and other classes.

You can select the amount you want to pay for the course, starting at $15.00, which was what I paid.

The course is 8 weeks long. Most weeks start with an audio lesson that ranges between 10-30 minutes.

What really caught my eye was the course description.

In this course you’ll learn:

  • How to speak consciously, clearly and concisely without anxiety.
  • The practice of responding instead of reacting.
  • To speak in a way that’s kind, honest and helpful.
  • When to speak and when to stay quiet.
  • How to stay engaged when listening.
  • To express yourself so that others can hear you.
  • The best way to nip potential problems in the bud before they become meltdowns.
  • How to be comfortable in silence — no longer needing to fill the space.

A lot of these felt very applicable to the conversations I often have as a Stage Manager, and also skills that I rarely get to practice in a low stakes way. The majority of the time, I’m practicing by doing.

The first week focused on the elements of right speech, connecting the course to its Buddhist roots. After listening to the audio lesson on the first day, the next seven days involved journaling exercises and reading daily affirmations.

I don’t feel like I got a ton out of the first week, partially because my interactions are severely limited these days. Also, there was a large focus on gossiping and how to stop gossiping and while I’ve certainly got piles of character flaws, I actually don’t struggle with that one.

I did, however, like the focus on helpful versus unhelpful language and trying to improve on that front.

Week two is more of a deep dive into yourself and how you feel about your communication skills. It also begins with an audio lesson, and the rest of the week revolves around journal prompts and affirmations.

I thought the affirmations were all a little crunchier than I’m usually comfortable with, but after repeating them every morning for two weeks, I can honestly say I started paying a little more attention throughout the day to the things that brought me nearer or further from that affirmed mindset.

I think it was good to delve deeper into the way I feel when I’m not communicating clearly and if there are specific triggers that can make it happen.

Often during this course, I didn’t really relate to a lot of the actual examples, but I found if I took a step away from the example and just used it as a formula to plug my own actual life experiences into, it did have some value.

The third week moves on to focusing on others. This was hands down the most valuable week in relation to stage management. It also begins with an audio session and then the rest of the week is journaling prompts and affirmations.

There was a strong focus on how to be more present. A few of the journal prompts felt extra vague and weird in this lesson, but overall, this was the week I learned the most and acknowledged I had a few flawed ways I was interacting with people.

Lesson four was just a bit off to me. Again, starts with the audio lesson and you do journaling prompts and affirmations each day – several of the journal prompts just felt very unclear to me. I also don’t love any class that encourages me to wear form fitting clothes as a way to speak clearer, conciser, and more consciously. Like… what?

Lesson five was on silence as a part of speech, with made me laugh. Silence and I are good friends. I did not need this week. It was structured the same as the previous weeks, with an audio lesson at the top of the week, and journaling prompts and affirmations each day afterward.

I did learn a little though about weaponizing silence, which I may have inadvertently been doing a bit – or at least I could see how others might perceive my silence in ways I don’t intend it now.

Week six was fun. It was just meditating every day, which I had already been trying to do since I finished The Science of Well-Being class on Coursera earlier this spring.

Week seven was a week of review and you were encouraged to go back and review something from the previous lessons every day (I may have slacked off a little this week).

The course completes on week eight with a final audio lesson, more meditating, and two exercises to use through the week whenever you feel anxious or uncomfortable.

Overall, I’m not sure the course was really worth $15 or two months of my life, but I did have enough takeaways to not totally regret it. If you find you have a lot of negative feelings around your communication skills, or that you struggle specifically with negativity in your communication tactics, it might be more worthwhile for you.

Also by Melissa Bondar:

Useful Certifications to do as a Stage Manager During Social Distancing

My Zoom Stage Manager Experiment

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