A miscommunication can have a disastrous effect on your relationship. We as human beings tend to delete, distort or generalize the information that we are presented with. Let’s look at each of these concepts in more detail:
Delete – we delete the information that is not relevant to us. An example is when someone asks you to count all the red objects in the room. You automatically start looking around the room for only the red objects. Next, the person will ask you if you saw any yellow objects in the room. The answer would be “NO”, meaning that you were only focused on the red items and not the yellow ones. We delete the information that is not relevant to us in any situation.
Distort – information can be distorted when we add our own perceptions to the situation intentionally or unintentionally. As an example of this would be that the employer jokingly tells the employee that he is late every day. In the meantime, the employee misconstrues its meaning and thinks that the employer is singling him out because he doesn’t like him.
Generalize – when information is presented to us in such a way that we generalize. An example of this is: She works in process driven environment that is run by a team of German specialists. This statement may generalized as Germany may have a reputation for adhering to rules, driving organizational processes and structure. This may be generalized and apply to all Germans from Germany.
Now, let’s look at effective ways to communicate:
– Find the right time. Find the right time to talk about a certain subject that may be bothering you. Choose this carefully as you need to consider your state of mind. You should be relaxed and calm before tackling a difficult subject head on.
– Talk face to face. Text messages or emails may be misinterpreted. Talking face to face can assist in eliminating this. You can write down your thoughts ahead of time so that you do not have trouble collecting your thoughts later.
– Do not attack. We can sometimes come across as harsh and mean depending on our choice of words. Try using words like “I” or “we” or even “us” instead of “you”.
– Be honest. Sometimes the truth hurts but lies can lead to even more lies. Be honest and open in your communication. Admit when you are wrong and move forward together.
– Check your body language. Let the next person know that you are listening to them. Be attentive by sitting up, face them and make eye contact. Listen and respond to the person effectively. Don’t be distracted by things around you, like your phone, text messages, emails, etc.
Communication can be difficult at times. Learning to sharpen your communication skills can really assist you in the long term to be more effective and build long lasting relationships.