Clarity. It is the one thing most often missing in communication. We believe we have effectively communicated only to find out later, we were misunderstood.
Our hurt was mistaken for anger. Our concern was mistaken for judgment. Our passion was mistaken for reckless pursuit.
And, in return, we misunderstand the communication that is given back to us.
How can that be? How can our communication get so jumbled that we fail to understand another? Or, how can we fail to see that we have been misunderstood?
Often we fail to ask clarifying questions of those we are conversing with, believing we “got the picture.” Yet, too often, we have assumed things. We have assumed perceptions, feelings, or opinions. It isn’t until later that we realize the mistake we made.
Clarity is so important in our conversations. It is so important to make sure that those who hear us, really do hear us. It is equally important to make sure that those we are listening to are truly being heard.
While clarity is important, we can’t have it without removing our feelings. And, as we all know, feelings are difficult to overcome.
So, how do we communicate difficult things in clarity without involving feelings and emotions? That’s not such an easy question to answer.
First, we have to pray. We have to give the situation and discussion to God and seek His intervention.
Second, take some time. If it is an emotional conversation, or a conversation that is likely to evoke strong feeling, take some time to get your emotions and feelings in check. Cool down. Try to see the issue from the other’s perspective as best you can. Prepare your heart.
Finally, protect the relationship. Whether the conversation is with spouse, friend, co-worker, leader, or even just an acquaintance, protect the relationship you have. Don’t allow relationship to be ruined because you have an issue. Revisit the communication. Revisit the questions. Revisit the situation you are communicating about until there is some clarity.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.” ~ Proverbs 15:1-2