So often we think we’ve communicated our message well, yet is it really a missed communication?
In life and in business miscommunication and missed communication are two great sources of exasperation. On the weekend I had a situation occur that stopped me in my tracks. Rather than going into the details, the outcome was a total communication breakdown between two parties and it has hurt about 4 people. As a result this is something I don’t wish to repeat. So I’ve spent a few hours (well truthfully many hours) rethinking what happened, how it turned into what it did, and most importantly what I can do better next time, the questions I can ask, and how to prevent it from happening again.
Sometimes we take away something from a miscommunication that actually isn’t there. Let me share a bit more about the weekend’s events. I’ve been friends with a lady and her family for some 15 years. Over this time there have been some really awesome connections. In fact there have been many of those. Then there are other times where I feel like I am walking on eggshells. It didn’t matter what I seemed to do, or say, it just wasn’t the response that was wanted by my friend. So over time I’ve anticipated reactions and sometimes even shut down my communication entirely. Thinking it is easier to say nothing, than risk saying the wrong thing.
What I was actually doing was basic human nature, apart from the miscommunication, I was practicing a combination of fight-flight-freeze responses that we all do when feeling threatened. Yet this practice doesn’t always support us, and can often lead us into trouble.
Expectations are the requirements that we tell ourselves (in our head). If we do not clearly communicate these requirements, then it is our fault that we do not receive what we wanted.
Even the trained need a coach to help them see
Now I practice the philosophies of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in my life and in business coaching. This means I work with re-programming unconscious neuro-processes, including the language we use.
Imagine this and think about your response.
There were two people communicating (i.e. two friends planning a weekend away with respective families). When imagining consider how much responsibility exists for each party to communicate effectively?
You might answer 50/50. Two people involved; two people sharing the responsibility.
The NLP Communication model suggests:
Communication is 100 percent responsibility of both people involved. I take it a bit further, if you are the one doing the communication, you have the responsibility to communicate in a manner that the other(s) can understand. If you are the one listening, you have the responsibility to listen, and ask relevant questions so that you can understand.
The sender has the responsibility to ensure the receiver hears the message and interprets the message correctly with the intent and meaning it was given. It is our job as senders to work through all the distractions, changes, and expectations to clearly communicate our needs.
If you are automatically expecting someone else to understand the way you filter and process information, you are making an assumption. You are clearly headed for a miscommunication.
And the blame goes to…
So who is to blame? Well there is no blame. That’s not going to help anyone involved. It is about the feedback. Ask yourself “What feedback can I take from my situation?”
In my case I wasn’t playing at 100%. In the attempt of communicating, I wasn’t clear. In the attempt of listening, I didn’t ask questions. Most importantly of all, it is my responsibility to recognise how I choose to navigate conflict and my fight-flight-freeze patterns.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” says George Bernard Shaw.
And in business
Yes of course this blog is about businesses, so even though this situation was personal, it can and does represent itself in business.
Consider those client conversations, where you thought you said everything, and they really were just being polite, and nodding their head! Yet in reality they had no idea of what you meant.
…or those tricky conversation with your team member/boss/colleague explaining what you are doing. Are you really being as clear as possiable, and considering all the outside distractions?
As a listener, are you fully present, or are you thinking about the footy game yesterday?
When you connect with those around you, it is your responsibility to truly understand the person. The person can be a colleague, a business partner, a potential client, or an existing client. Be present to the person in front of you, you will be delighted to find deeper meaning from your everyday conversations.
Harvard researchers discovered through studying over 2,000 people that we are present — paying attention to what’s right here in front of us — just over half the time. For 47% of our day, our minds are wandering — daydreaming, worrying, remembering, anticipating, or doing anything but being here and now. So if someone is telling you something, then it is very likely you are not getting the whole message.
In business giving and also requesting regular feedback is essential and should be standard practice.
Talk to customers, focus on listening to what they are saying, particularly what they need from you. Listen and focus on the customer’s concerns. Make sure you know what is on their minds before they pick up the phone and tell you.
If you are not playing at 100 percent, you are going to risk miscommunication.
…Then this morning I am communicating with my husband via email. I ask a question, do we do this or this? A bit later I get an email response of ?❤.
What does that mean?
Yes darling go for A but he loves B
Yes darling go for whatever you recon and I love you.
Whatever you recon I’m busy
The list could go on really…but I’m a quick learner – so when he gets home I’ll ask the questions…
If you would like to work with Merinda and learn more about how communication is extremely important for business then contact her here.