Posts Tagged ‘miscommunication’

All the right notes… not necessarily in the right order?!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011
All the right notes…

I’m sure many of you are familiar with this classic Morecombe and Wise sketch, and if you aren’t you really ought to watch it, it is comedy gold!  However I had a real life situation the other day that made me think of Eric’s words “Listen… I’m playing all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order!”   I was involved in a bit of communication that went awry.  We exchanged a number of messages and I wasn’t at all convinced that it was being resolved but I stuck with it.  Today I heard that it was all satisfactorily resolved but I suspect that the issue wasn’t so much the substance as the timing of the communication.

I’m sure we have all been in situations when someone asked us something at the wrong time and we failed to engage with them properly, and maybe afterwards said something like “Why didn’t you just ask me..!” only to discover that they had.  If your perfectly constructed message arrives at the wrong time for your recipient you maybe doomed to a difficult time.  We can’t always know what is going on for our recipients especially when we fire off an email or text, but if it is important, and I’m phoning, I try to ask the person “Is this a good time for you?”  If it isn’t then I’m not only wasting both our of time but potentially my one shot to get the message over.

In communication, like so much in life, timing is everything

Communication is all about what THEY hear…

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I had an interesting business meeting this morning.  Lots of good stuff being tossed around by 3 people with busy brains and loads of ideas.  I floated an idea (a good one as it happens) and it is interesting to examine what happened between my speaking and them ‘hearing’ what I had suggested. 

One of the guys went off on one little journey about the use of metaphors and in fact had inverted my meaning / story.  In fact, he had just picked up the bits that were interesting to him and taken it in a different direction.  The other chap heard the bits that worried him and was busy thinking about what wouldn’t work.  Over the next 20-30 minutes I explained and developed the idea and by the end of that time we all understood & liked my suggestion and agreed to use it as a core to process. 

The key about this little episode was that until further work was done, our ideas and understanding were at sixes & sevens.  There is an NLP precept which says the meaning of any communication is the meaning taken by the other person.

If it is important for you communicate effectively, you have to check that they have heard what you said and what you meant, not something totally different….

“The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”  George Bernard Shaw

Great Expectations and the problems they bring

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Yesterday’s blog, and some of the comments on it, got me thinking about the problems expectations can cause us; so often it isn’t the thing itself that is the problem, rather the gap between what we experience and what we expected. We expect all sorts of things from other people, standards of behaviour, sets of priorities, use of language and we take ourselves as the benchmark for all of these standards. We ‘know’ that others are different from us; we ‘know’ that they have different pasts, different capabilities, different interests, different needs, but somehow we expect them to all do what we would do in any given situation.

If we are feeling more rational, we might recognise that this is simply not true, but at a base emotional level we still somehow expect it. If we diverge from our normal behaviour we understand the reasons because we have all the facts; of course, where others are concerned, we never have all the facts, even for those who are close to us. It is in our nature as human beings to try to predict the future, as this allows us to keep stay safe. Some part of our brains is constantly extrapolating and interpreting the world about us according to a set of rules we have in our heads. The problem is we each have a different rule book!

When people fall out, when communication is breaking down, this is often somewhere in the mix. If you want to unravel it, then at least you have to be clear about what you were expecting, challenge if it is reasonable in these circumstances, and ensure that you actually know and understand their circumstances too. The next step is to talk to them about this and explore it from both view points.

Expectations are inevitable; they are very powerful and can impact us and those around us in many ways both positively and negatively. So today, perhaps be a little clearer and more analytical about what you expect of yourself, of others and your world.

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” Dennis Wholey

“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Mark Twain