I just saw “Whiplash,” the 2014 movie that won a Best Actor Oscar for J.K. Simmons as an abusive jazz music teacher. Beyond the unremitting cruelty, I was struck by the precision of the minute adjustments required by professional musicians to keep their instrument in perfect tune. (Much of the film involves masterful young musicians playing great ensemble jazz in real time with top-of-the-line equipment.)

My mind naturally went to the equivalency in work that excites me around the tender precision of communication attunement. The practice of Relational Presence calls for a finely calibrated resonance with your listeners that includes subtle shifts in the melodic flow of authentic engagement. If you identify as a professional communicator or leader you are either at home in this intimate space or suffering the consequences of speaking off key a little or a lot.

If you do not consider yourself a professional communicator, think again if at least some critical aspect of your work or aspiration involves making yourself clear to others.

Communicators Have But One Instrument to Tune

Musicians have a variety of instruments with diverse tuning demands, while communicators have but one instrument that utilizes presence and voice to brush the heartstrings of our listeners. When touched in this special place, their minds swing wide open to the usefulness of our inspiration and information.

I call the communication instrument Relational Presence, the finely calibrated resonance of which is the same for any human communicating from kind regard with any other or a group. As I’ve written in articles on brain science relating to Relational Presence, this subtle resonance is equivalent to that of healthy mother mirroring in every society from time immemorial. All it takes is listening while you speak, and meeting the other in an appreciative gaze that recognizes the natural connection that lies underneath the personality.

As listeners/speakers each of us has the exact same inner Stradivarius at our service that when noticed and tuned to precision brings out the best in our self and others in every interaction every single day from boardroom to bedroom.

Attune Your Instrument Right Where You Sit Here and Now

I invite you to take a refreshing dip into the crystal clear waters of the luminous attunement field by viewing 3 short videos that model Relational Presence in different situations. If you’ve seen these before, this time breathe with them and notice if they resonate as a tuning fork for your fine inner instrument. Can you ease into the pleasure of the moment through the gaze of authentic engagement?

Video — To the Camera – Introducing the Work
Video — To a Group – Scenes from a Speaking Circle
Video — In a Dyad – Relational Stillness Exercise

And would you bring this undemanding gaze of attunement to the next person you meet eye-to-eye?