Ever wondered about your communication skills? How sure are you that your message was clear and concise? Did the recipients of your message truly understand what you were trying to convey? Let’s talk, but remember it takes two, the focused messenger and the attentive receiver.
Certain levels of understandings are often overlooked when one person or the other, expresses him or herself passionately, in a manner most people can’t immediately relate. In this, misunderstandings are bound to create barriers at the exact point, where inspiration or clarification, should have naturally taken place.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, yet often is but in the form of confusion, sudden judgement or loss of attention span. Misunderstandings happen all the time and mostly it’s out of politeness, the avoidance of embarrassment, in regards to the information flying over one’s head or the complete lack of interest due to one’s personal belief system.
Here’s a quick example of how misunderstandings or communicable barriers (possibly) originate and how they can spiral into the abyss if not corrected swiftly!
A few years ago, I responded in a conversation regarding my triplets and how they were starting to speak aloud, all at the same time, as though they were in competition with each other.
The colleagues involved were my immediate supervisor, staff speech therapist and another from upper management. I said “yea, my kids are really starting to talk and make sense, but often I’m really just looking for the end word.”
Oh the stunned look on their faces! Eyes widened in complete shock, obviously caught off guard! I couldn’t help but notice how the air seemingly was being sucked from their lungs, while they desperately gasped for some form of grip on the situation. By the paleness of their skin and frozen body positions, I could immediately tell they misunderstood.
As mentioned earlier, somewhere between politeness and avoidance, they were challenged with confused misunderstanding!
Now, if I had written out what I said, one could easily discern what I was talking about, when I stated “I’m really just looking for the end word.” That is, the word at the end of my children’s sentences, that would’ve otherwise given me some sort of clue as to what they were referencing.
I was not saying to my colleagues, when my children talk, I’m really only concerned when I hear them say, the racially charged “N” word! Why my colleagues would think that is another story, but innocent all the same.
Please understand, whether it’s providing information, telling a funny story or sharing personal experiences, you often have more time vested in the information you’re providing. So, if the subject matter is truly important, communicative understanding is an absolute must.
Think about it, how many times have you been involved in a good conversation and suddenly, it fell one-sided to the other persons “all about me issue? And although you truly dread hearing this “whoa is me story” for the hundredth time, you smile out of politeness, staring attentively into their eyes and fade off into your mental happy place. All the while desperately waiting to pounce, on the next exit opportunity from the conversation!
Communication doesn’t have to be so troublesome, but it does need to be worked on diligently, compassionately and to the best of our ability. Why? Because ultimately communication is all about trust.
I trust that you hear me, for better feedback in search of finding that common ground; uniting us as a people.
I trust that you attentively pay attention to my directions, being I’m still on vacation. Thus giving you the ability, to handle the work environment in my absence.
I trust that you hear the desperation in my voice, in hope that one day you can avoid the same mistakes I’ve made, preventing you from experiencing the horrific pain that once crippled me.
Communication paired with true understanding is an absolute must. Only remember, what used to be a two-way street, has now developed into an over the speed limit, four lane highway of debate, opinions and distractions, paired with just a bit of nearsighted tunnel vision!
That meaning both parties involved, must venture to seek a common lane of understanding and clarity. In this, growth, trust and accomplishment can be achieved as we collaborate within interpersonal communication. Are we in agreement?
Thank you, Reginald O’Neal Gibson