Being misunderstood and misunderstanding others during an important conversation is often due to certain things:
A mismatch between your own rational thoughts and irrational beliefs, assuming you are being fully understood, and second guessing the true intent of what you are being told.
You end up tripping yourself up with mixed messages being sent and received.
Follow this simple remedy.
Irrational beliefs are almost always saturated with emotion.
These beliefs are FELT to be true.
You create your own rules, a version of reality that represents how you think, feel and behave.
This is your unique personality striding forth.
Unfortunately you expect and assume others will easily understand your intention, your meaning, but often misunderstandings occur.
The remedy is simple.
Good communicators ask good questions.
Great communicators ask great questions.
And these questions are quite simple to construct.
Be aware that as we receive information we delete, distort and generalise what we hear, and we do this pretty well all of the time.
Why? To avoid getting overwhelmed with too much stuff.
We want to avoid information overload.
And many of us are a bit impatient to listen properly.
Almost every situation contains an incredible amount of detail.
Attempting to process such a vast amount can drive you crazy.
So we discard much of it and assume we get the meaning of the messages received.
Virtually all of us are somewhat prejudiced, and without being aware of it, we edit the information we receive according to the way we think and feel.
By and large, this works fine in everyday conversations.
But it can trip you up at the wrong time and later leave you confused about what went wrong.
Since we add, change and delete the information we receive to match our thinking, feelings and beliefs, oversights can result.
Even when we listen intently this can still happen.
We prefer to spend the time thinking about what we will say next.
It’s as if we are hard-wired to assume we understand everything we are being told.
What’s the problem with this?
The specific problem?
Well, as we delete, distort and generalise we are inclined to drop part of the intention of a message.
Accuracy is lost and misinterpretation of something vital is possible.
By the way, some people purposely overdo the amount of information they put out because they know you will not pick up all of it.
It also happens in written material. The devil can be concealed in the detail.
It is manipulation.
Let’s get back to the importance of questions.
To overcome unintended consequences that may occur during a conversation, ask questions to clarify what has been said.
It’s that simple.
Put all of your abilities to use by getting into the habit of asking questions when you chat.
Don’t be surprised if you quickly become an even better communicator!