IF YOU WANT THEM TO HEAR YOU, SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE! © Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
You've probably noticed that there are some problems with our communication system. We have to use words. They are often imprecise, awkward and unable to capture essence of what we want to say.
Problem #1. Words mean different things to different folks. Even when we find what we consider to be adequate words, listener hears something else.
Problem #2. It is difficult to capture feelings in words. And, equally difficult to remove feelings from words. What a conundrum.
Problem #3. Listeners may not be listening. There's a big difference between listening and hearing: only former engages mind. Many folks begin formulating their response after you say first ten words.
Problem #4. The listener's prior experiences color your words for them. You are not alone. They are hearing every person who has ever spoken to them in your way or with your words as you speak. Therefore, they decide where to place their attention and what their focus will be.
Problem #5. And, we wonder why communication is difficult? It's enough to make you close your mouth forever!
Now, aside from those five problems, there are other considerations. Here are some simple and significant ways to increase your chances of being accurately heard and, hopefully, listened to. Consider following questions:
1. Do you know what is important to your listener? Are they more interested in facts or feelings? Demonstrate your desire to communicate with them by leading with what is of greater interest to them.
2. Do you know if your listener is more interested in details or decision? Some folks are more comfortable with assessing and planning solutions than with making decisions and implementing them. To whom are you speaking? It is difficult to get a "decide and do" attitude from an "assess and solve" person. Similarly, it is more difficult to engage an "assessor" in a decision making conversation. They will usually want to keep perfecting their plan. Acknowledge this and affirm their skill before asking them to decide.