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Value Creation Blog

It’s Not What You Say That Count’s

Posted by Josh Patrick

communicationHere’s a statement for you to consider….the meaning of your communication is the way it’s received.  This is not a new age statement for you to ponder.  It’s a simple statement that just says it doesn’t matter what you think you said, it only matters how the person you’re speaking with heard it.

A personal story with my family.

I’m told by my daughter that I yell at her all of the time.  In my opinion I never or at least rarely yell at anyone. 

At the same time I do talk with lots of energy and enthusiasm.  When I’m talking about something that she might not agree with I can see how it comes across a yelling. 

It really doesn’t matter what I think.  The only thing that counts is that she thinks I’m yelling.  If I want to be heard, I need to change how and what I say with her when I’m in a position of disagreeing with her. 

The difference here is I’m not expecting her to adjust to how and what I’m saying.  I’m expecting that I’ll speak with her in a way that I’ll be heard.  Do you get the difference here?

Do you want to be effective with people you work with?

I’m assuming the answer to that question is yes.  Of course we all want to be effective with the people we work with.  I think the only way that happens is by making sure our communication with others is heard the way we intend it to be.

I have a bad habit of sometimes being a little sarcastic or at least blunt.  When I’m being really blunt, people are put off and stop listening to what I say.  I could think that’s just tough and they’ll have to get over it.  It’s the way I used to be.  Now I realize that for me to be heard I need to pay attention to not only what I say, but also the way I say it.

Be careful of the words that you use.

Words have meaning.  I have a client who uses the term pitch book for a proposal book they give clients.  I keep saying that using the word pitch books is really off putting. 

I don’t know about you.  I don’t want to be pitched.  I’m fine with having you make a proposal to me.  I just don’t want to be pitched.

There are lots of trigger words and words that have the effect of turning what you said into the opposite.  For example, when you use the word but you make the first part of your sentence into a negative.  If I say to you, “I like your hair but it would be better if it’s shorter.”  What does that mean?  Well, you get the idea.  Pay attention to the words you use.

Just don’t tell someone something, ask.

After you have a conversation with someone don’t assume that your message got through properly.  Take an extra step.  Ask them what you said.  You’ll be surprised how often what you thought you said was not what was heard.

When you take this extra step you have a chance to correct and make sure your message was heard properly.  This little thing will help you from having unnecessary misunderstandings with other people.

What’s the reason for what you communication?

Sometimes we’re curious, sometimes we have a direct message to give.  I find that many times both come across as the same type of communication.  If I’m curious, I need to tell you that.  If I have a message for you to hear where I don’t want a dialogue I need to say that also. 

Don’t assume the person you’re speaking with understands the purpose of your communication.  Ask it’s really the only way you’ll know.

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Topics: communication, communication skills, personal growth

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