Ever wonder why sometimes, after talking with someone, you end up saying to yourself... ummm, I have no clue as to what they really meant by that comment. Its not just happening to you, because it happens to all of us at one time or another. Lets together travel back a little bit in visual time... (drum roll please).
On the floor jumping around, barking and running back and forth toward the front door is our Jack Russell terrier. To my visiting guest at the house, he is just acting weird or excited and just wanted to play. Of course, as this all plays out in mind, my dog is remembering that time to him is becoming a major priority. I had several options available to me, one being to ignore the true signals flashing in front of me or listen to my uninformed guest. My friends are now laughing out loud and saying, "wow what a cute dog, what energy that breed has." I can now see that my dog has lost is humorous side and has this clear expression on his face that says, "You idiot, if only I had the time, I'd show you energy". Anyway, because I have learned through past experience, that this behavior being displayed means something totally different from that of my guest, I immediately took the correct and appropriate action and let man's best friend do his thing.
Now let's travel to say, your favorite mall, and suddenly you realize that there's some new construction to the roadway and to some of the buildings within the mall parking lot going on. Just up a head is a uniformed police officer directing traffic around the construction site, but for some reason the traffic flow has stopped. You are close enough to hear an elderly couple asking the officer for directions to the mall. Of course you find this somewhat strange because they are actually in and at the mall. As the conversation continues, the officer who is now standing erect, and pointing upward, adjusts his dark mirrored colored sunglasses and replies to her question in a firm voice saying, "Lady, can you read the sign!!" The woman is now so upset and panicky, that she tells the officer's supervisor that she was disrespected, yelled at and called stupid, blind, old and the list goes on and on. Although you never heard the officer used those terms, its conceivable that from her perspective all those things actually occurred.
Finally, I'm sure this has never happen...right?
You're home having an incredible day off and spending some time with your significant other. There's time spent laughing about the weeks craziness, and the interesting things on the tv. Your significant other, states that suddenly she's bored and wants to go shopping and further more wants you to give up the couch and tv and accompany her to the stores. You pause, take a deep breath and image feeling the despair and burning sensation rumbling around in the pit of your gut. Then you see yourself, going from peace and tranquility to noise, traffic, people, walking from store to store and more noise, awwwww!! S0, you stand up, look her straight in the eyes, and with a pointing finger, you say, "Look, I love you very much and I'm willing to do that, but not today, now tell me you're listening and you love me too and that you understand?"
Her response is pictured above.
In all of these cases there is obviously a teachable moment. Communication whether spoken or not has meaning. The hardest part may lie in our recognition of how we deal with what we personally interpret as a true meaning. Each and every word we utter has a meaning. Sometimes people don't or can't always filter through their own issues i.e. drugs; anxiety; fear, etc., at the time to adequately decode our message to them. It's YOUR responsibility to ensure they properly understand the message.
On the other hand, if you're the receiver of the message, try paraphrasing back the message you've received. Perhaps saying, " So what I understand you to mean is..". This is just one of the many resolutions to avoid a total misunderstanding. The next element to making the conversation positive is to learn how to RESPOND to a statement verses REACTING to it. Trust me there is a distinct difference, because YOUR delivery style does matters.
From the receivers perspective:
The majority of conversation taken in is in the TONE;
Next, OTHER NON-VERBALS, are taken in at a high percent;
Lastly, the remaining and least values are placed on CONTENT
Ensure that all your verbals and non-verbals match and remember...
Always leave a person feeling better than when you first encountered them.