Communicating Is Not The AnswerNov 29, 2022
How many times have you said (or thought) after a frustrating communication with anyone, "This would be so much easier if he/she would just listen to me!" Or, “if only we could communicate!” But, listening to you isn’t the issue. Either is communicating with each other.
Communication is when two or more people are trying to get their point across. What's missing is the lack of trying to understand the other's point of view, perspective, or opinion. That can only by accomplished by hearing what people say. Stephen Covey, a prolific, motivational author and keynote speaker, wrote in his runaway best seller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, but instead, they listen with the intent to reply.”
A genuine effort to try to understand is accomplished by asking relevant, thoughtful questions. For example, asking leading questions, that start off with “What…” or even “How…” For example, “What does this (fill in the blanks) mean to you?” Or “How can I help you with…?” But, be mindful of starting a sentence with “Why…?” as in, “Why did you…” or “Why are you…” Starting a sentence with “Why” implies criticism and asks for motive. This moves you away from understanding and connection. Utilizing these simple techniques will go a long way in forging a connection.
It's only with connection that you can touch the heart. Think about how you feel when someone asks you thoughtful questions. You feel cherished, valued, important. Do the same for those you love or are close to. Heck, try it with the grocery clerk. You'll be amazed at the heart print you'll leave behind.
CHALLENGE: For the next week, I challenge you to put down your need to reply/defend/say something pithy, witty or funny and just listen to everyone you have a conversation with. Don't listen with the intent to reply, but listen to ask more questions. Really try to connect and understand. As the ancient book of wisdom states in Proverbs 18:13, St. Francis of Assisi penned in the 1200’s, and more recently Stephen Covey wrote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood."