How many times in your life have you been caught misunderstanding your surroundings? We hear the clichés “Don’t judge a book by its cover” “The grass is always greener on the other side” “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” “We’re not laughing at you were laughing with you” and “All that glitters is not gold.” What are these statements really telling us?
I would guess the number of times we have misunderstood; we have been misunderstood. Simple gestures of communication can be interpreted 180 degrees from what the intent of the message was to suggest. Unfortunately, I remember reading a bumper sticker which read, “I got married for better or worse, I got better she got worse.” I published this statement on fb finding truth in the statement. While I have found out many of you may be thinking “Jaren, you scoundrel!” as many did on my wall. Some will interpret this statement as I did: Over time my wife improved “got better” and I have fallen apart, “got worse.” Each observation, while completely different cannot be correctly interpreted until the reader gains greater knowledge through understanding from the person making the statement.
Remind yourselves of times you have been on either end of misunderstanding. What could you have done differently? With the understanding our words and actions will be misunderstood, we simply acknowledge this and do what we can to insure clearer communication. Here are two suggestions: First—we need to know that others can’t read our thoughts or intentions and, second—we must understand how we appear in the communication channels affects how the message is delivered.
We alone carry the facts that have led us to our conclusions. We know how difficult it may have been to get to a place where we have gained conviction. Unfortunately we take for granted others may not know “what we are talking about.” In making our delivery we need to exaggerate basics to build understanding.
When our communication carries across multiple communication channels we need to mirror our message in all channels. A face full of joy isn’t capable of telling a sad tale. An ill dressed person will have trouble finding ground for been taken seriously. Taking the time to evaluate where we have become lost in a conversation will open our minds to avoidance of those traps.
Better communication leads to more meaningful relationships which will aid in our happiness throughout life.