The Art of Communicating Book Summary - The Art of Communicating Book explained in key points
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The Art of Communicating summary

Thich Nhat Hanh

The fascination of mindfulness in our daily lives

4.5 (298 ratings)
15 mins
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    The Art of Communicating
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    We communicate using two kinds of speech: nourishing and toxic speech.

    From personal relationships to multibillion dollar business deals, healthy communication is vital. But what exactly is “healthy” communication?

    It's best to think of communication like food. Some of it is nourishing, and some is toxic and poisonous.

    Nourishing speech is understanding and positive, while toxic speech fills people with negative emotions like anger and frustration.

    Imagine you're waiting for feedback on a project, when your boss comes in and says, “This is absolutely terrible. You're a useless waste of space.” That would certainly be toxic speech.

    On the other hand, if she said, “I think there are some things we could improve here,” that would be nourishing speech. You could use it constructively.

    So, how can you work more on your nourishing speech, and develop a healthier communication style?

    The first step is to understand your own way of communication. You have to practice mindfulness.

    Mindfulness means fully concentrating on yourself, your body and your breathing. It allows you to communicate clearly without judgement.

    When you're in a mindful state, you'll feel detached, which allows you to examine your communication objectively. You'll realize some things you might want to say are toxic, so you'll be able to stop yourself before you say them.

    Mindfulness also helps you become immune to the toxic speech of others. When you're being mindful, you can judge people less. You will understand them, and see that their toxic speech really is a result of their suffering. You'll feel more compassionate, so you’ll know not to take their hurtful words personally.

    So, to make sure your conversations are healthy and nourishing, practice being mindful.

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    What is The Art of Communicating about?

    The Art of Communicating (2013) offers valuable insight on how you can become a more effective communicator by practicing mindfulness. Drawing on Buddhist wisdom, it outlines ways you become a respectful listener, express yourself well, and ultimately improve your relationships with your loved ones.

    Best quote from The Art of Communicating

    With mindfulness we can produce thoughts, speech, and actions that will feed our relationships and help them grow and thrive.

    —Thich Nhat Hanh
    example alt text

    Who should read The Art of Communicating?

    • Anyone looking to become a better communicator
    • Anyone interested in Buddhism
    • Anyone who wants to connect better with others

    About the Author

    Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist monk from Vietnam. During his life, he published over 100 books, including Anger, which was a New York Times best seller. In 1967, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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