Communication worth savoring

Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.
Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure.” Maggie Pitts.

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable conversations, as of this moment:
  • a classroom conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach life in different cultures and choices;
  • a talk with an older, family friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after they had finished and they were exploring a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (Photo of me on those lovely old train. we rode,);
  • talks with friends about books and movies we have enjoyed;
  • an amazing presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor;
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of their lives or mine;
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.

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One comment

  1. You have always savored communication… just as you saved all of my letters I wrote to you, and then gave them to me years later as a gift. 🙂

    Like

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