Let me ask you, have you ever put a post out on Facebook or social media or sent an email or even had a conversation with a friend that just didn’t go according to plan and you got a really unexpected response? Has that ever happened to you?
It happens a lot with my clients and when I’m working with teens. You know, they will say one thing and then they get an unexpected response that causes them to have a bit of a reaction and it can lead to conflict.
So let me ask you, what does this statement mean to you?
“The meaning of communication is the response that you get.”
I’ll share what it means to me. It means that if we take responsibility for the response that we get from our communication, it puts us in a position of being able to change that response. If we just put out our communication and expect other people to be able to understand it and not take responsibility if they don’t, then we could end up in a bit of a stalemate.
The frustration of engineers
For years I was an engineer and then I was a manager of engineers. When you’re an engineer it can be frustrating when you’re trying to explain technical information in a simple way. My team used to get frustrated with me because I would send their emails back to them, telling them,
“You can’t assume that people have the same level of knowledge as you or that people are looking at this problem, at this situation, through the same lens that you are.”
And they would get frustrated and say but they are technical as well and should understand this stuff. But I sent the emails back to them over and over and said,
“You have to explain this simply so that when somebody reads it they’re not made to feel stupid. They’re not made to feel less than because they don’t understand the terminology that you’re using, then we will be able to move forward and be able to succeed in our common goals.”
Take responsibility for your communication
So if you take this same approach in your communication, by taking responsibility for the response that you get and then changing how you communicate, then you’ll find that your interactions will go a whole lot more smoothly.
Remember nobody likes to be made to feel like they don’t understand and nobody likes to be made to feel less than. Next time you’re going to post something on social media or send an email at work or have a conversation with a team member, just have a think about the meaning of your communication is the response that you get and that you’re in control of changing that communication.
Let me know how you get on.