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Jan. 19, 2022

Episode 9: Pursuing Better Communication

Episode 9: Pursuing Better Communication

How many times have you had troubles because of miscommunication? This happens A LOT. In fact, it is so common, that the plot of most television sitcoms stems from people having a miscommunication or misunderstanding. In this episode, I give 5 strategies to communicate with no misunderstandings. 

1. Know your purpose
2. Communicate emotions in person
3. Communicate facts in writing
4. Listen more than you speak
5. Follow up

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Transcript
Melissa:

Hello, and welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. Have you ever. Laid awake at night, worrying about an interaction you had with someone else. Have you ever had a conflict that just ate at you or bothered you and you wish you would have handled it differently? And you lay awake at night, replaying it over and over in your head, imagining how you could have done it differently or what you're going to do about it tomorrow. There's no discomfort, quite like the discomfort of being at odds with someone that we care about, whether it's a friend, a coworker, Or a spouse. So instead of letting that fester and instead of losing sleep about it, lean into it. Go to the other person, communicate what you're thinking and feeling and listen for them to communicate back. And this episode i'm going to share tips and strategies to communicate clearly So that we can avoid misunderstandings. And not have the conflicts that arise from them. If this is ever been you laying awake at night or you worried about what you have said or left unsaid then stay tuned How many times have you felt that you were communicating very clearly? Only to be misunderstood. It has happened to me more times than I'd like to think about or to recount. And I'm guessing it's probably happened to you also in our minds. We know what we are wanting to say. And in our minds we're probably communicating it quite clearly. But the others don't have the benefit of that insight into our minds. Maybe that's a good thing. To know exactly what we are trying to communicate. So we do our best using our words and our emotions, our energy, our intentions, and our mannerisms to communicate what it is. We want the other person to hear and to understand. Now, there are a lot of flaws in this. And we know this because there is a ton of sitcoms and a bunch of movies based on this fact that misunderstandings and miscommunications happen. All the time and in many different ways. So, how do we know that we are communicating clearly? You know, sometimes. A simple gesture, a simple phone call or a simple statement can clear up a miscommunication. Recently. In Christmas time we were watching Christmas movies and one that comes up every year for us. Is the movie home alone. And it strikes me every time I watched that movie. That a simple phone call would have cleared it all up. Now I know there was an issue with the electricity. That's why the alarms didn't go off. But in the rest of the movie, Kevin has a lot of electricity in the house. I don't know how you measure electricity. If he can measure it by a lot or a little, but he had electricity. And in the neighborhood that they lived in, you know, that the electric lines and the phone lines would have been repaired almost instantly. So they could have just kept calling the house until Kevin answered the phone. And told him they were heading home. And they could've had a two-way communication. Kevin could have told them what was going on there and they could have had. A lot easier time of it. Granted it wouldn't have been an entertaining movie had that happened, but. I always think that every time I see the movie, why not make a simple phone call, could have cleared it all up. In fact, in so many movies that I watch, it seems like that the entire plot is based upon the fact. That a simple phone call could not have been made. In such instances as even the Titanic, when the iceberg was cited, they could have made a phone call and called for help that could have avoided disaster. Now that was based on real life events, not a movie script, but there are so many examples where a simple communication. It could have changed how things turned out. Whether it's in a movie, a TV show or in our lives. So, how do we ensure that we communicate in a way. That others understand exactly what we're trying to communicate. How many times has this situation ever come up and your spouse says, well, I don't know anything about that. And you're struck because you've talked about it. At least once, if not, maybe multiple times, or you have put it on the calendar or there has been an action taken that you assumed meant the other person. I knew it and understood it. Happens all the time. So today I want to talk about different ways and strategies that we can use to ensure that we are communicating. In fact, And not only are we communicating in this exchange of words and emotions and mannerisms, but that we're understanding. What we're communicating and what others are communicating to us. So first. Always know the purpose of your communications. This is particularly important. If it's a business situation, of course, or in a professional setting. You always want to know why you were communicating because that could dictate the type of communication you use. But if you have a purpose other than just exchanging pleasantries, it's good to keep that in mind so that you are intentional about communicating it. So always know the purpose of communications, even in a personal space. No, why you're communicating. Is it to enjoy each other's company? Is it to pass along information? Is it to learn more about the other person? Is it to teach the person something about yourself? Is it too. Have the other person understands something you're struggling with. Is it to ask for help with the situation? And the list goes on and on, but no, Y you are communicating. That will help you in the words you choose and the actions you take and the followup actions in order to ensure that you are heard. And number two, and I think this is such an important one. Always communicate emotions in person. This would avoid a lot of troubles. I always communicate emotions in person. That may not always be possible. And if it's not possible to communicate in person. Then do it on the phone. Or do it via zoom, Skype, FaceTime, some type of video conferencing, if possible, the worst way to communicate emotions. Is in writing. No, it may help you to write it down to clarify what you want to say and how you want to articulate it. Absolutely do that. But when you write down emotions and give it to another person, either on a piece of paper or via email, There is a higher risk that they are going to not understand the correct emotion that you intended. So if you're delivering emotions, make sure you do to that in person. One of the main reasons. Why is we communicate? With words. But also with the intensity of our presence, with the looks on our faces, the little micro expressions and gestures, we use some of us talk with our hands a lot. But so much can be communicated through body language and mannerisms. More than we realize. In fact, when we are in a conversation with someone there's a part of our brain. That is always mindful. Of reading the body language of the other person. And this is at a level that is below the conscious level. So though we're not aware of it. Our brains are looking at the other person and registering. Are they facing us? Are they. Dismissive are their eyes wandering? Are they not looking at us in the eye? Are their words matching their gestures and their mannerisms, all of these things. Go together when we communicate. We use all of that information. When we process someone, whether someone may be lying to us. Or trying to deceive us. It's also helpful when we have all that information to know if someone is teasing us. Or joking around with us. All of these things are important aspects of communication. And when we communicate emotions, it is vital to have all methods. Of communicating and understanding at the ready. So whenever possible, communicate your emotions in person. Number three. Communicate facts. In writing. Now you may want to run through some things with your spouse. You may want to run through some times and. What not that you have activities planned for the kids or doctor's appointments or. Uh, appointment set up and these are facts. These are relating facts. It might be talking about different plans that you have on the home, or what have you, but communicate facts in writing. This doesn't mean you don't talk about it. Of course you can talk about it. But also make a bulleted list. So that that person can retain the facts. Because they're going to retain. How they felt during the conversation or their impressions during the conversation, more than they're going to remember the facts. If you're in a professional setting, CIN fax via an email. People can have the list to refer to and to follow up on. And in marriage and friendships, it's also helpful to have a list of facts to leave with a person. To share it with them. Especially if it's a list of things. Number four. Listen. More than you speak. Especially if you're trying to learn something about another person. Or if you're trying to communicate something about yourself, The more you listen to the other person. The more, you're going to understand how they will hear you and interpret you. The more you listen to another person, you begin to understand the experiences from which they come. You begin to understand the filters they use to process information, feelings, facts. Events, et cetera. The more you listen to how another person talks and relates events and stories and facts, the more, you know, How that person processes information and needs to receive information. For instance, If you have. Um, let's say, if you want to communicate a process to someone. How to run a PowerPoint presentation, let's say. Then there are people who want to start at point a and hear every fact all the way through to point whatever. There are other people. Who need a cliff note version? They need a framework for that conversation before they can start to fill in the details. So it's important to know how that person receives and stores information and accesses that information. So the more you listen to that person, when they speak the more you understand how they like to receive information. I have friends who. If they are, needing instructions on something, they need the details. Or even if you're telling a story about an event, there are friends who want the details start at the very beginning. Don't leave anything out and go to the end. That's the only way they can hear that set of instructions or the only way they can hear and understand that story. There are other people who need a framework of reference. For instance, if you're going to sit down and watch an episode of a favorite show on Netflix, there are people who cannot watch that show until they read the brief description. They need some sort of framework or some sort of synopsis or understanding. In order to be able to interpret the events that come after. I'm one of those people. If you're going to give me instructions on something, I'm going to need to know the overall purpose of what it is and what we're trying to accomplish. If I don't know what we're trying to accomplish, I cannot assimilate any of the facts that you're relating to me. So spend time listening to another person to know how they receive, understand and interpret information. And number five. Don't assume. Someone understands what you said. Follow up. Now, if you're talking about emotions, if you're expressing your emotions, it's really helpful to have an after action. If you will, with that other person and have them repeat what you said or what they heard. So that you know, that they are receiving what you intended. If you're communicating facts and information. Having the other person repeat back to you or to reiterate what you've said is helpful to know that they have indeed understood you. Now we all know if you want to have a happy. Relationship, whether it's a marriage of friendship or working relationship, or what have you. The right amount of follow-up is critical. You don't want to follow up to the point where you are nagging the other person. And you don't want to walk away with the zero follow-up. So having listened to how this other person receives information and gives information, you get to get an idea of how they will need the follow-up. And if you've been married very long, you will know that. There is always one partner in a relationship who is not only going to need that information spoken or given, but we'll also need a list summarizing that information. And maybe even a reminder that the information was shared or communicated in the process. I'm joking. Of course. But follow up as necessary. If it's critical. That communication that you have. Take a moment to ensure that they heard what you wanted them to hear. Especially if it comes to emotions. And if you're communicating facts, you want to know that they got the facts correctly. So take time to follow up. And check back in, in a day or two. And ensure that the communication not only happened and was understood. But that it has taken root and has stayed with the other person. So many things happen in life because of miscommunications. Keep in mind that we communicate with our words, we communicate with our actions. We communicate with our gestures and our micro-expressions, our macro expressions, whether we have a smile on our face and the little other things about our presence and demeanor communicate so much. Beyond just our words, for instance, did you know. That if you are. Listening to someone who is sharing something personal to you. That if you have your feet pointed straight to them. It communicates, not only that you're listening, but that you are concerned and that you have compassion and empathy. So much of our body language is important in communicating. Take the time to ensure that you're doing all of this. The best way that you can, and don't be afraid to ask questions. On the flip side of this. When someone has communicated with you. Don't make assumptions. Don't read into the communications. Don't make guesses or assumptions about what was left out or what wasn't included. If you have questions or you need more information. Ask for that. I see this happen a lot. When two people, they may be, let's say they're friends and they've been friends for decades, have known each other a long time. One friend will do something a little uncharacteristic. And the other friend afterwards is left. Feeling like there's a problem, or there's a conflict. That person is reading into that other person's actions. In a way that's not necessarily truthful or factual. I see it all the time. People come to me worried about a situation. When in fact there's nothing to worry about because the actions that friend aid took had nothing to do with friend B, it was something that friend day was going through. Separate and apart. From the other friend. So we can get into a lot of trouble and we jumped to conclusions and make assumptions. We know the old adage about assumptions. Especially when we are communicating. My wish for you. Is that. You are intentional about your communications. I hope this has been helpful as a reminder, because this isn't new information. We know all of these things. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of them. To communicate with each other clearly. To ask questions and follow up. I hope that your relationships are all conflict free. That you don't have any difficulties with communication. May you say what you mean and mean what you say in that your yourbody reflects and backs up the message that you're speaking. But knowing that this is going to. Inevitably fall through the cracks. No, that if you're going to communicate emotions, do it in person. If you need to communicate facts. You can do it in person too, but also do it in writing. So the person knows those two things. We'll help you immensely to avoid any miscommunications. I hope this has been helpful for you. And if you would like the list, they are included in the show notes so that you can always refer to them.