Look above.  Do you find these phrases annoying? Frustrating? Irritating?

In my opinion, if you have SAID or HEARD these phrases even once, that is one time too many!

It’s like this folks—If you find yourself saying things like the aforementioned phrases, people aren’t doing a very good job of seeking understanding.  And guess what? If others are saying these things to you, you aren’t doing a very good job of seeking understanding either.

Let’s address how most people communicate.  Most people don’t say what they mean and mean what they say. Sure, it would be nice if everyone did, but that’s not the real world, is it?  Look at this example and ask yourself if it rings a bell in your brain of miscommunication memories.

You may find in situations like this there is a small voice in your head (or feeling in your gut) that this person is in fact not fine.  Even so, you respond with a statement and then go on with your day all hunky-dory like.

Unfortunately, communication is riddled with interactions like the above and we have assumptions to thank for that.  It’s these pesky assumptions that then create misunderstandings. Assumptions and misunderstandings—dangerous places to be.


YOU can FIX it with QUESTIONS.

Underneath the surface of someone’s words lives a whole world of meaning we need to seek. A world filled with beliefs, thoughts, values, concerns, hopes, wants, needs, etc. When someone tells us something, too often we assume we know what they mean based on our world, and then we utter a statement that is off-the-mark. This is not helping your communication folks. We need to get to the meaning of their words first, which means we’ve got to harness the assumption that we get it, that  we understand.

So, how do we harness our assumptions and resist the intense desire to respond with a statement before seeking understanding? We ASK QUESTIONS.  Try these out.

Table that describes how to respond with a question

Are you getting the picture? (That’s a real question by the way.)

When we harness assumptions and dig a little deeper by asking questions (a.k.a. seeking understanding), we have fewer misunderstandings and enjoy better communication.

So, I challenge YOU … ask a question BEFORE you respond with a statement. Leave your question in the comments and I’ll offer up a little understanding.

If you want to learn more about doing away with misunderstandings, check this out Listening to Understand and True Paraphrasing.