Communicating Better – To understand or to be understood, that is the question.

  • Kicking off the “Tips & Tricks” Section of my blog is an item on human communication.

    Now, very little of what makes up communication is the actual words we speak (more on this to come in later posts) but for this post focus on just that.  So often people argue because of a misunderstanding.  This can range from a minor disagreement at work or between friends to a full blown marital breakdown!  In the extreme, wars have started over misunderstandings!  How many time do you hear someone saying things like “God he’s so thick, he just doesn’t get it” or “He thinks he so much better than me just because I don’t get what he’s asking for”.  Obviously, there are likely to be many reasons for such rhetoric, but consider this, is it ones responsibility to understand or to be understood?

    I am going to “borrow” from the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) here as one of the presuppositions of NLP sums this up quite nicely:

    “The meaning of ALL communication is the response you get”.

    Put simply, if you say something to someone and they respond differently to that which you expected, they’ve not understood you. However, if they respond as you expected then they have.  Yes, read that again, as I’m sure that for a lot of people this will lead to a complete reversal of their understanding of communication.  Essentially it states that it’s nobodies responsibility to understand another person, but that person’s responsibility to make themselves understood!  We are all different, we all perceive the world in different ways.  It follows therefore, that if you are trying to explain something to someone who perceives the world in a different way to you and they don’t understand, it’s not their problem, it’s yours.  It’s up to you to find a different way of getting your point across.

    So, don’t get annoyed or frustrated with others when they just don’t seem to get you.  Explain it differently and watch the results.  Perhaps better communication?

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