Both are underrated, refreshing and should be enjoyed more frequently!
I’m not going to apologize for my borderline obsession on this topic because communication is an integral part of sustaining positive relationships — personal and professional. I often question if we make enough of an effort to do it right. Can you think of a personal or professional situation that escalated into a misunderstanding? If you go back and trace the communication trail, could it have been avoided? This is one of those gray areas that reflects the countless styles of human interaction. And like humans – it’s imperfect.
I have a little story about my own epic fail with my daughter. After you read it, I hope that you’ll have a takeaway on the significance and simplicity of recognizing communication styles of ourselves and others.
A few weeks ago, my 20-year-old daughter sent me a text message telling me that her “dumb phone” was falling apart and was there any chance of getting a new phone now instead of waiting until our contracts renewed in 6 months. You see, this was about the 1oth time she’s initiated the cell phone discussion. Each time, I gave her the “C’mon, your priorities should be on school, not having a smart phone so you can update your Facebook” speech. Little did she know that I was already in the process of purchasing pre-owned smart phones to surprise her and her brother for their upcoming birthdays.
Since I had information she didn’t have and didn’t want to spoil the surprise, I was nonchalant with her concern of having a broken phone. Later that day she called me with emotions boiling over. She felt I was dismissing her and didn’t understand why I wasn’t acknowledging the issue of the broken phone or willing to discuss options to solve the problem.
Whoa! I get it — calm down girlfriend! So while I was ascending the throne of Duchess of Damage Control, everything I neglected to do hit me right between the eyes.
If I had a do-over I would:
Address & acknowledge the details & priorities with clarity & factual information. My daughter’s desire for a new cell phone wasn’t about having an 8-megapixel camera — it was simply about having a phone that worked properly and without broken buttons.
Tailor communication based on your knowledge of the listener’s style. Had I been wearing my empathetic hat, I would have gone back to my college days and recalled the trepidation of managing the new demands and life skills that college students face. My lack of communication added to her pressure that ultimately resulted in the enjoyable emotional ambush I received.
Set expectations and next steps. What are the available options to solve the problem and what is the timetable?
When we take time to find the pain points of discussions and consider options to work towards an agreeable solution, we have an immediate progression in our relationships. Sure we’ll have those times when the solution doesn’t result in a happy happy joy joy ending but don’t we owe it to each other to listen and be heard with clarity?
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