You Are Talking…Are They Hearing You?

I have heard this question in a couple of different ways over the years. At first, I was confused by it…..if I’m talking, obviously whomever I am talking to understands, right? Dead WRONG! The trick is to LISTEN and re-frame the manner in which you convey your thoughts or ideas.

Think of almost any communication challenge you have, and you’ll probably find that understanding the other person’s method of processing will help you adjust communications so that the problem disappears.

Think of a frustration in your life – someone you love who doesn’t feel loved, someone you work with who manages to rub you the wrong way, or someone you’ve tried to help hasn’t responded. What you need to do is identify their process of understanding, identify what you are doing, and identify what the other person is doing.

Suppose you need verification only once that you have a loving relationship, and your partner needs it consistently. Perhaps you put together a proposal that shows how things are alike, and your supervisor only wants to hear about the ways they’re different. Maybe you try to warn a friend about something he or she needs to avoid, and he/she is only interested in hearing about something he wants to pursue.

When we communicate and only we understand the concept, the message that comes through is the wrong one. It’s as much a problem for parents dealing with their children as it is for executives dealing with their employees. In the past, many of us have not developed the sensitivity to recognize the basic strategies that others use. When you fail to get your message through to someone, you don’t need to change the content. You have to develop the flexibility to be able to alter its form to fit the understanding or process of the person with whom you’re trying to communicate.

Are you communicating with potential clients in a manner they can process? Are you hearing “we’re going in another direction….” too often? You may need to improve LISTENING skills.


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