Frequently, I expect that most communications proceed smoothly when what you want and what I want, in terms of end objectives, are similar. It would be a case more of meeting individual needs as opposed to enhanced communication at play.
What’s obvious to me is not always obvious to you. So, where does that put me?
One of the major problems with communicating with other people is the fact that quite simply, you tend to see things from your perspective. Of course, that is natural. I don’t expect you to always be considering things from the view of others.
But consider for a minute if you did.
If you tried to see things from your listener’s perspective, it might help you to reposition what you had to say. It might help you realign views or even address misconceptions.
If you tried, at least your listener will see that you are considering their point of view and therefore, not get their back up against the wall.
The problem, as I am sure you have encountered, is that this is a lot harder than you think.
When you take the time to develop an opinion about something, when you feel strongly about an issue, it’s a lot harder to approach something on neutral ground. Communication in itself is fraught with many challenges. When you add in the varying contexts brought on by differences in culture, language, gender or age – and that is to name but a few – it’s almost a bomb waiting to go off.
I also suspect that with long term relationships of any kind, there is a certain expectation that has built up over the years, a kind of understanding of who each party is and what they are liable to say, or how they are likely to act in a given situation. To some extent, building up a profile like this takes time and makes it easier to communicate. But there are times when it’s possible that the persona you’ve created in your mind of the person you’re talking to, may be quite different to the actual person before you.
Hence, the need to really listen to what a person is saying. Over time, the conversations, behaviours, reactions of old, add on almost a filter to the person which makes it hard for you to really hear what is being said.
What works for me?
Repeating. If I am going to get things wrong, at least let me repeat what I believe is being said first.
Pausing. It works wonders to slow down the emotional kick you keep wanting to throw.
Slowing down my speech. It has the effect of calming me down and making me more aware of what I am saying, rather than just spitting it out.
Keeping quiet. Sometimes, if it doesn’t seem to work for you, it might for the other party. So, not a bad move either.
Airing it out. At other times, you just need to say what you need to say. So, do it.
Postponing it. The distance of time and space usually does work to give you a better perspective on things.