“When you assume, it makes an A@@ out of U and ME.”
There is some truth to the phrase above. When we make assumptions about what a person means we generally find ourselves in a heap of crappy communication.
It’s not all your fault though. Some people just don’t know how to use powerful communication. Instead of using words that are clear and direct, they use words that fail to truly communicate what they mean. This leaves lots of room for misinterpretations. Call it beating around the push, sugar coating, being passive aggressive, indirect communication, or whatever you want. No matter how you label it, it makes communicating difficult.
The absence of powerful communication is too often the presence of assumptions that are based on our own perspectives, experiences, values, etc. For example, a coworker innocently tells you how impressed they were with your work. Your reaction is “What!? So, I don’t usually do good work?”
Hold up! Is that what they really meant?
HOW TO FIX IT. Before you respond or react, ask one, just one little clarifying question, to make sure what you think they mean is truly what they mean. Here are some examples to help.
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 …?
Give it a try. You will be surprised how less crappy your communication is.