Between what I think,
What I want to say,
What I think I’m saying,
What I say,
What you want to hear,
What you hear,
What you think you understand,
What you want to understand,
And what you really understand…
There’re 9 probabilities not to understand each other!
No doubt, human communication is complicated and language is a source of misunderstandings. And it’s not enough to choose the right words, our nonverbal communication also says a lot of us. In fact, we are all experts, more or less, in extra verbal communication. Without knowing it, our brain decodes those little signs and triggers the alarm when a mismatch occurs or we feel under attack.
For this reason, often it’s not what we’re saying but how we say it. Sometimes it’s not the words but the tone of voice or gestures that make all the difference. In fact, sarcasm can completely change the meaning of words. In the same way, we can’t convince someone that we’re not angry if our attitude reveals that we feel uncomfortable and bothered.
On the other hand, sometime we send a good message but without choosing the right tone or words. For example, some criticism can be constructive if we use the right words, but the same can be destructive and undermine the self-esteem of the person if we use the wrong tone and words.
What is the solution?
Talking isn’t enough to communicate, we must be heard, and even that is not enough, we must be understood and accepted. This means that, beyond the message you want to convey, it is essential you step into the shoes of the other person to connect with him/her.
This doesn’t mean that communication has to be artificial, that we have to hide our emotions, on the contrary, it means we have to communicate from our essence. In fact, the main problem is that sometimes we try to hide what we really think or feel, and our interlocutor perceive that the message is not authentic.
Of course, neither we should let our emotions become a swollen river breaking its banks to damage the relationship, especially when it comes to anger or frustration. We must learn to channel our emotions so that our message is genuine and that, in turn, it will have a positive effect on the other person.
It’s not the same saying: “you aren’t able to do anything” that “you haven’t done the job very well, next time try to improve your performance…”. Nor is the same to say: “you’re always acting the same way” instead of “you hurt me, the next time I’d like you to consider my opinion”.
Of course, these changes in the way we communicate do not happen overnight. We need to practice and, above all, sharpen the senses to understand the emotional impact our words are having on the other person. In this way we can soften the message when necessary or we can show our vulnerability, if the occasion demands it.
Remember that the key is to communicate from our essence, with care and respect for the other person.