Communication is often seen as the foundation of any relationship. If you’re not communicating effectively, it can lead to stress, frustration, anger, and fights all because of misunderstandings, lack of communication, or not listening.
How well are you really listening or are you just waiting until your time to talk?
Men tend to be very direct when communicating. Women are indirect, which leaves a lot up for assuming or interpretation. When you assume things, it’s easy to be wrong or waste time. Understanding communication helps both parties become better listeners and conversationalists.
One place communication breaks down is what the person actually says compared to what you think she is saying. SHARE THIS! If you’re not sure what she is saying, ask her for clarification. A great way to do this is, “What I hear you saying is _________. Is that what you’re saying?”
If it isn’t, she’ll correct you. Keep asking for clarification until you can say, “What I hear you saying is __________. Is this way you’re saying?”
And she confirms that what she is saying. That way nothing is left to interpretation. You are both clear on what is being said and agree with it.
Take for instance if a woman is sick at work and needs to go home.
Woman says to her male boss, “I don’t feel well.”
Boss replies, “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Woman says, “Yeah, it came on all of a sudden. I just don’t feel good.”
Boss replies, “Do you need some water or something to eat.”
Woman says, “No thank you.”
Boss walks away thinking the conversation is over. Woman is mad, because her boss didn’t let her go home. Meanwhile, the boss had no idea that she was that sick that she wanted to go home, because she never mentioned going home. All she mentioned was she didn’t feel well. The woman doesn’t understand how her boss could be so mean and not compassionate about her being sick and not letting her go home.
Language, tone, and asking for what we really want play vital roles in communication. TWEET THIS! If the woman had used the work “sick” instead of “not feeling well” it would’ve landed differently on her boss. Not feeling well implies you are somewhere between being good and ill. It doesn’t imply you are sick, sick to where you need to go home.
How the woman says things also makes a big difference. If she is being blasé or matter of fact about it, her boss may not be taking her very seriously, as though she is really that sick. Whereas is she has a stern voice, it makes a stronger impact as though she is serious about not feeling good.
If she needs to go home, she should ask to go home. Remember, others can read your mind. So ask for what you want. Don’t assume they will know or read between the lines of what you’re saying. Most of the time they won’t, and you’ll be disappointed. You won’t know unless you ask, and they might just say “Yes.”
On the other side, if he was actively listening, he might have picked up on her not telling him how badly she really feels. If he was engaged, he wouldn’t noticed her holding her stomach or that she looked like she could be feverish the way she was sitting and holding her head. The boss should probe a bit more to find out what’s really going on. Why doesn’t she feel well? How bad does she feel? What would make her feel better or how can he help? He could ask her if she needs to go home.
Communication is a two-way street. Most of the time, we say what we say expecting other people to fully understand it the first time. We don’t stop and think that they have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. So they will interpret things differently. They won’t know what we say until we know what we are saying…not what we are trying to say, but what we are actually saying.
Don’t leave things up for interpretation. Ask for what you want. Clarify to better understand. And listen actively. Not to what they are saying but what they are really saying. Be engaged. SHARE THIS! Pay attention to the person’s body language, gestures, how they are acting, and their tone of voice. Probe to find out more, if need be.
When both sides learn how to better communicate, it saves time, money, and a lot of frustration and stress. It becomes a win-win for everyone involved.
We want to hear from you. In the comments below, share with us how lack of communication or misunderstanding led to a disagreement and how you resolved it.
Jessica Rector’s mission is simple: transform lives. With a BBA, MBA and BS, Jessica started, hosted, and produced her own TV talk show in Los Angeles with just an idea to help others which launched her first company jessICAREctor International. As someone who attempted suicide as a teen, had a lot of self-judgment around being a single parent, and has a brother who died by suicide, Jessica knows challenges, issues, and pain and how to turn them into something good. Through her own experiences, research, and strategies, she helps you break through your inner struggles and free yourself. As a thought leader, keynote speaker, and author, Jessica consults with companies, coaches individuals, and speaks at conferences, conventions, and organizations helping you change what you say to yourself about yourself to change your thoughts and actions to change your life. Jessica is a Contributor for The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project and has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Business Journal, and Market Watch. Get Jessica’s third book, Breaking the Silence: Taking the Sh out of Shame at jessicarector.com. Follow her on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.