So I tried writing my blog early and “scheduling it” for posting. There should have been a post on Thursday last week. It didn’t work so obviously I’ve got a bit more to learn. 🙂 Oh well, it’s good for our brains to be challenged!
Anyway, I want to talk a bit more about communication. The more I purposefully observed communication happening this past week two things kept “coming to the top for me.”
#1. Our mindset or life experiences GREATLY color the way we hear things. For example, I was involved in a staff meeting last week. We were told of a change that will be taking place this week that will effect the way we do one thing at work. We all do this thing. Everyone must change. One of the team leaders is making our changes slower than the rest. We all know this. It is how it has been working since October. Our boss made reference to an adjustment his team would have to do until he is fully “on board” with the changes. The meeting went on. Later, I found out that one of his team members heard that talk as a direct assignment for her and that she must “get the job done” no matter what. Yet overtime is not approved right now, so she was upset thinking she didn’t know how she could take on more responsibility and not have overtime. She cried she was so upset. I did not hear that message in the meeting at all. This team member has a long history of tough stuff in her life where lots of things have been dumped in her lap. She has also repeatedly been told she is not “smart”. I believe her history colored what she heard and made her come to a different conclusion than what our boss intended. Can you think of a time that happened to you?
#2. We just hurry too much. We don’t ask enough questions. A friend of mine made a comment in a conversation this week. My mind took off like a race horse. I assumed that the comment meant something and that something was going to change my plans for the next day. I didn’t want my plans changed. I was tired. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. This change might offend someone else I might have to meet. Or if I kept that obligation then my friend would have to be alone for awhile…that’s not polite when you have a guest. Can you hear my mind? It instantly began chasing possible scenarios, worrying, feeling tired and stressed. This happens all the time in everyday conversations. If I had just asked for clarification during that conversation I would not have spent the next 16 hours stewing only to find out my assumption was totally wrong. There was absolutely no need for any of my plans to change.
This happens all the time in marriage (really in all relationships/conversations). I think we need to SLOW DOWN. Listen, ask questions. “What does that mean?” Stating back what you believe you heard is another great way to clarify and understand what was just really said. “I heard you say that I need to come straight home after work. Is that right?” Then listen to the answer. You will be amazed at how many times what you heard and what the speaker meant is not the same. I challenge you to try this at least twice this week. Tell us what happens. Did you hear accurately or did you need to be corrected? Were you surprised? This is a great tool at work as well as in a marriage. It saves headaches all the way around!