“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
There’s no escaping the important role of good, clear communication in all aspects of our lives. Yet, despite its importance, communication is something with which most of us continually struggle. But as Tony Robbins points out, how we perceive the world is at the center of our communication.
So often we communicate, understandably, in a way that makes sense to us. We use words and examples that are clear and logical to us. However, I am not so sure we realize how ineffective this can be. In fact, we often get upset when others don’t understand or agree with us when we communicate with them. But the key is that we have to remember that our perceptions of the world vary significantly. How I see things is not going to be the same as how you see them. And so, how I explain or communicate things will also be different from you.
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet, we continue to struggle deeply in this arena. How can we do better in our communication, regardless of the topic or the person with whom we are communicating? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Listen with an open heart and an open mind.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Pause to consider where the person with whom you are speaking is coming from.
- Don’t get defensive… work toward leaving emotion out of it (because it’s seldom personal until we decide to make it personal).
- Remember the original purpose of your communication.
The bottom line is we have to stop taking things so personally. We need to ask questions, listen, and try to see other viewpoints. Most people aren’t looking to disagree with you, but you may have to do a little work to help make your viewpoint clearer. So, the next time you find yourself frustrated in attempts to communicate with others, take a step back at try to see things more objectively. Where can you tweak your message to still get your point across while helping others to understand more clearly what it is you’re really trying to say.