Keeping things Simple


Published: 6 Jul 2018

The 'Pure Mechanics' of Communication


At least once or twice in a day someone uses one of my own phrases back to me. The most common is “see it, say it”. Thousands of people have heard this in classes and corporates all over the world in recent years.  I think the reason it resonates with so many people is that in essence it helps you to keep things real. Keep things simple. And , above all uses communication that really works for you.

So, “see it, say it” is the simplest, easiest way to live an authentic life – the life that you actually want and deserve. If you see it (or hear it) then do something about it there and then. Don’t wait! If you wait you may be storing up resentments, fear, apprehension. You may miss or forfeit opportunities that are never coming back. And, putting things off usually sounds like ‘blame and shame’ if done later.

If you are brave enough to accept this challenge, and start living from this place, what “see it, say it” also does is corrective coach unacceptable behaviour from others. Imagine if – as it is incoming, you flip the words or actions back to the person and make them accountable – to think about what they just said or did to you? There is a learning opportunity there in that. For you (in bravery and greater assertiveness). For them (re-programming their behaviour to be kinder, more reasonable, ethical.

“See it, say it” gains you back time in not saying yes when you really wanted to say no. “See it, say it” creates more ethical and harmonious workplaces. “See it, say it” forges sustainable relationships based on truth, self- awareness, and unambiguous words and deeds. “See it, say it” is a powerful tool for moving from passive to more assertive.

Give it a go from your very next human interaction. Embrace the “see it, say it”.

Another phrase is “twiddly bits”. The words “twiddly bits” first arrived in Elemental Potential workshops 3-4 years ago, but it is actually an English urban slang phrase meaning ‘extras’ or un-necessary bits that has been a part of everyday life.

Twiddly bits are the single most destructive and counter productive thing that unhinges great communication. Sometimes it can be a simple little word – like ‘again’ or ‘still’.

“When can I expect that Jill?”  Sounds quite different to:

“I’ve had to remind you again Jill because you still  haven’t done it. When will it be ready?”

How do you think Jill feels if she is constantly communicated with like this? Keen to get to work? Able to talk to her boss about her workload?

Sometimes it can be a generous spattering of self-righteousness, opinions or judgement added to the end of a few words that would have sufficed perfectly well by themselves without the twiddly bits.

“Congratulations on achieving your qualification David”.

Complete with damaging twiddly bits sounds like:

“Congrats on your qualification David. I’m not sure why you thought you needed it? I’ve got by on my years of experience.”

Negative, and undoes any positive.

Twiddly bits hurt.

They provide an emotional ping that will or will not go away depending on the type of person you are communicating with.

Twiddly bits invariably make people feel LESS. Less capable, less loved, less efficient, less in control.  Twiddly bits are about EGO. Twiddly bits are learned  behaviour patterns. If you use twiddly bits a lot, then you have likely learned that from someone in your life that did it to you, or you broke away from someone who controlled you and now you have a voice/gained promotion/are in charge of people – it all went to your head a bit and you use twiddly bits to make you feel bigger/better.

Please stop using twiddly bits in words, emails, texts, social media.

Keep things simple. Stop at a point where you are positive, empowering and build people up, not knocking them down.

Keep things simple – even when you have to correct behaviour. If you only had 6-9 words in each human interaction how would you say it to get the job done, stay positive, and make the other person feel ok?


See it, say it……..with none of those pesky twiddly bits! Your cheerleader will be right here.


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