It often feels like if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Why can’t other people get it and communicate better? No matter how clearly you identify a task or request something, there always seems to be something lost in the communication to cause you stress and frustration. And while you automatically assume the other person is at fault and either didn’t listen to you or they are just an idiot, is it possible that you (and I) are equally to blame for the lapse in communication? Are there two idiots in the equation? Here are four ways you can make communicating with others less stressful and more impactful at work and at home:
1.) You can’t always assume the other person has the same level of intellect as you. And you may not want to admit it but they may actually be smarter than you. This difference in intellectual capacity can make even the simplest exchange very complicated in the underlying meaning that is communicated. So be honest about the intellectual capabilities of yourself and others when interacting and make your message fit both sides of the audience.
2.) You can’t always assume your instructions or requests are clear to the other person. Even if your communication is dummy-proof in your own mind, that doesn’t mean the other person isn’t coming at it from a completely different place. You may be thinking of how it will benefit you or your family and they may be thinking how it will benefit them or theirs. And those benefits can look very different. Step into their shoes for a moment before starting the communication and be sure you’re tailoring it to the other party.
3.) You can’t always assume the other person cares as much about an issue as you do (or vice versa). You may be passionate about the environment but if the other person you’re communicating with doesn’t have that same passion, your message about recycling (or any other environmental issue) will get lost on them. You need to find the hot button of the other person and make your message appeal to them in a meaningful way.
4.) You can’t always assume the other person is paying attention. If they have something else on their mind or are distracted by kids or their phone, your message, no matter how important or clear will not be 100% absorbed. You need to get the person’s full attention and reiterate its importance so you have their buy-in and commitment to listen.
By consciously becoming aware of your communications and interactions with others and really understanding how they are being translated, you will be able to be much more effective in dealing with others. You won’t become as frustrated or annoyed by the so-called idiots in the room and you may even find that you can see others’ perspectives much more clearly and relate to them in ways you never thought possible. This can also lead to much more progress at work, in social groups and with children. Taking the time to really understand others’ abilities and point of view can make a tremendous difference in the ways you relate to others and they relate to you.