My colleague Sam and I are friendly and caring people. We’re good friends, but when we talk about work issues, there is immediate and complete misunderstanding! I don't know why! What should I do? Help!
It’s very frustrating when we are misunderstood, right? Your experience is normal, which we all have gone through.
CLARIFY, CLARIFY AND CLARIFY ONE MORE TIME, even though you’re sure you understand the message. When we communicate, we interpret information through our mental filters based on our own experiences and perspectives. Everyone’s filters are unique and what you understood could be very different from what the person meant. So ask specific questions to make sure you’re talking about exactly the same thing.
2. Read non-verbal language
It’s just as important to ensure WHAT is said matches HOW it’s said, and this is another clue to clarify again! If what is said doesn’t match how it’s said, ask again. And, let your feelings tell you if the what and how match. Sorry, no “logical” step here.
3. Embrace disagreement
Embracing disagreement is difficult, especially for people who seek harmony and co-operation. So when you feel frustrated, call a time out and agree to disagree! This will create space between the two of you and reduce the frustration.
You may have heard these tips before, right? But knowing won’t help, doing will. Starting now, commit to taking action -- clarify, read non-verbal language, and embrace disagreement, and miscommunication disappears.