It is not often I have the opportunity to sit with groups of people who bring their own passion and talent into a shared space with the purpose of learning and collaboration to make better worlds. I am attending the SIETAR Deutschland conference in Berlin that has as its alluring title “Global Integral Competence: Brain, Culture, Mind, System.” One main focus of the conference is to gather interculturalists to ponder and commit to action on developing cosmopolitan communication so we can create a world in which cosmopolitan culture is the norm. What do we mean by cosmopolitan communication? It implies communicating in ways that honor the other party, honor yourself, and work back and forth in the tensions between the two to arrive at mutual benefits. There isn’t one formula or path to get there, but there are some common themes that facilitate the process, such as being respectful, creating a space for exploration, creating shared meaning and understanding, respectfully disagreeing.
Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) is one such approach as it takes a communication perspective and its concepts and tools embody these qualities. When collective groups of people communicate using cosmopolitan communication we have established cosmopolitan culture because the norm of communication is cosmopolitan. This is not to say it is a utopia because there are still communication struggles that will take place and this is not to assume we can sustain cosmopolitan communication 24/7. We have habits we carry with us into any communication in which we engage and these habits pop up and interfere with us remaining cosmopolitan.
So what can we do to increase those lengths of time and frequencies that we are communicating in this higher level approach to communication? We can continually work on ourselves to develop deeper self-awareness. One way to start is to reflect on the significant influences in your life that helped shape who you are and how you see the world. You can do this with the use of the Daisy Model from CMM. Put yourself in the center and then on the petals surrounding write the significant influences that shaped who you are today and how that affected you. A second way to sharpen your perceptions is to notice three things: What are your own styles and patterns of communication? What are the styles and patterns of communication of others with whom you communicate? What are your reaction to these different styles and patterns?
The first step is to increase awareness so let’s work on that for a while. We can figure out what to do about it once we are more aware. After all, this is lifework so plenty of time.