Monday, 25 February 2013
I liked this picture that I found in a magazine. It made me think about communication and how it doesn't always go the way we expect. As a clergy wife I've seen breakdowns in communication that needed to be rectified.
Communication can be so difficult. What is said is often not the same as what is heard. Somewhere between the mouth and the ears everything gets mangled.
The way we hear things has a lot to do with previous experience. For example, if we have been brought up with a lot of criticism, we hear it in even the most innocent of remarks where no criticism was meant. We extrapolate from what is said, read things between the lines that aren't there, and take things the wrong way. We are human.
So what can we do to minimise the confusion?
Be clear. Use simple language and make sure that the person you are talking with understands what you expect the outcome to be from your conversation.
Be concise. Don't say more than is necessary or try to give explanations. It's like when you apologise - you say you're sorry and leave it there. Don't try to justify what you did.
Listen with both ears. By this I mean that you should pay attention to what you hear and pause before you speak. That old saying about two ears and one mouth is a wise one.
Be prepared to draw a diagram if necessary. You might feel that everyone involved is on the same page but quite often that isn't so. This can be the case when you are making something. You talk to someone about what they want and when you do a mock-up it doesn't quite work in the way the client expected. Sometimes a diagram is useful.
And if there is still some miscommunication, say you're sorry, forgive, and move on.