“People communicate as best they can.”

Talking is a very poor way to communicate, but it is typically the best option we have.

When we talk with people, there are two distinct conversations typically going on, what is being said, and what is being thought.

Time for an exercise: ask yourself what percentage of your thoughts you communicate.  10%?  20%?  Point is that that what you (or others) say is like the part of the iceberg floating above water.

When we are in conversation, what we need to do is remember that 80% of the other parties thoughts and assumptions are not being communicated, and are up to you to guess.  Of course, we all typically project our own feeling on others, which means that often times, we then project our own assumptions on the other party resulting in miscommunication.

So for communication to be effective, we truly need to understand the party sitting across from us.  However, unfortunately,  we often don’t take the time to figure out what thoughts and assumptions the other party is working with.

Like most issues in life, the first step to fixing things, is being conscience of the reality of things.  However, beyond that there are some concrete steps that you can take to minimize miscommunication:

1) Don’t rush important conversations.

2) Use reflective listening.  Google it.

3) Ask questions that start with “Why and How” to give yourself more detail.

How do you get people to give you the real story on things?

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