The tip this week is DON’T ASSUME when you are communicating.
Click here (Connecting with Communication: Don’t Assume) to watch the video and then keep reading for more communicating practice.
Now, we have probably all heard the adage “When you assume, it makes an A@@ out of U and ME.” Let’s not take it that far. Let’s just say that when we assume, we are often communicating, yet failing to understand. Think of the many times you were misunderstood when you tried to make a point in a meeting, asked a question to your boss, told your child to do something, or simply expressed your opinion. It is frustrating, isn’t it!?
You see, when communicating our assumptions come from our own perspectives, experiences, values, etc.; therefore, we’re not coming at communication from the same direction as the other person. You may innocently tell someone how impressed you were with their work, and their reaction is “What!? So, I don’t usually do good work?” They assume your compliment is laden with your shock and surprise they actually did good work. It is no wonder we have misunderstandings when we assume our meaning is the same as someone else’s.
COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE: So here is my challenge for you … ask one, just one little clarifying question to make sure what you understand someone to be saying is what they mean. And do that before you respond. Start with last week’s tip BE MINDFUL to ensure you are fully present to receive the other person’s message. Then you can ask that little clarifying question. Here are some examples to help you with communicating without assuming.
Example 1: What I am hearing you say is …. Is that correct?
Example 2: If I understand, you mean …. Right?
Example 3: Do you mean …?
Example 4: I think I understand. Is it …?