Monday, January 25, 2010

Asking Permission

Communication is such a tricky thing...books (probably libraries) have been filled with information about communication. As I have been focusing on my entries for WWAV, it has become a focal point of my day. Of course, knowing what I know about focus, it only makes sense that because this has become a priority for me, my daily encounters offer plenty of fodder for the entries! The power of permission was my gift this weekend.

There is a difference between asking permission because you are at the whim of someone's power over you and asking permission because it is an act of courtesy. Permission, like most things, is a two edged sword. There is the courtesy of asking permission to use someone's possession, (May I borrow your pen?) or it can be reduced to a form of begging (Will you please go to the meeting with me?). And then there is the power of permission as an invitation (May I have permission to ask you a question?) There is most likely a whole book that can be written on this subject that would undoubtedly help many; but for the sake of this blog, let's look at the power it holds.

If I come to you and I am invested in something that is important to me, asking your permission to allow me into your personal world is a gold plated acknowledgment of that person's right to accept or refuse. It says, "I respect you and want to honor your choice." I cannot imagine anything more powerful. Even if the invitation is refused (and that could be a for a variety of reasons) it behooves us to honor the other person with the power of permission. Permission moves resistance and opens minds. In some ways, it is one of the most important keys to successful communication. We often forget about it when we are in a heated debate or an emotional environment. But saying "please, may I" may be one of those lessons from kindergarten that we have long since let pass. In the spirit of permission, may I please ask you to share this if you think it is something that can make a difference!

1 comment:

Jennifer Conradi said...

Good post. I think asking for permission is something that I have a hard time with (and you know the reasons why). Maybe it is not even asking for permission that I have a hard time with. It may be just the act of asking.