What Do Others Hear in Your Words?

You’ve likely seen it happen during this economic downturn. He brought her down without any awareness that he undermined her career. She dismissed his good ideas without realizing she excluded her colleague.

Have you seen people damage good relationships, or stomp out mind-bending opportunities, and then appear surprised?
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Or have you heard people ask for help in sweeping statements that say little about specifics they need,  and then express their frustration when others fail to offer precise ideas to assist them?

Confusion and misunderstanding come from speaking out without regard for what response will likely come back. It’s more than using good tone though. It’s also bigger than meta messages, which merely mask what you really mean. The kind that says, “It’s OK” when it is clearly not OK.

Most people would agree that what you say and how you say it impacts people and makes or breaks powerful connections.  Yet fewer people realize that what response you’ll get back is often shaped directly by what you say. In other words,  you either enrich or limit responses back, by how you communicate ideas or ask questions. Have you seen it?

If you want clarification for directions, for instance,  ask specific questions about only that part you need clarified. Don’t say, I’m frustrated, overwhelmed, confused, and upset. Benefits from clear communications include higher intelligence gained each time you articulate well.

Why not  listen today to hear what solutions you inspire from words you speak.  Do you hear insights that could fix broken systems because you spoke solutions in mind?  What will others hear similar solutions in your words today?

9 Comments

  1. Becki True says:

    The information you posted here is so true. We learn to speak around the time we’re one year old, but some of us never really learn to communicate effectively.

    I know that I’ve been working on these skills for the past couple of years, and removing myself and focusing on the other person has made a huge improvement in my communication skills. Heck, I know what I think; I really need to hear, listen to and decipher what the other person is saying.

  2. eweber says:

    Becki, thanks for stopping by – and what a fine contrast between speaking and communicating. Words come from language intelligence and communication – from interpersonal intelligence.

    Your own openness to grow in these areas inspires the rest of us to do the same. I had no idea of the power locked within tone! In fact at brain institutes we tackle tone and offer tactics for using a winning tone to build goodwill even when folks disagree. It creates powerful solutions for participants and they take these back to their workplaces:-) People rock when tone’s used to communicate dividends for all!

  3. Wally Bock says:

    Great post, Ellen. We often see conversation as a contest or as a situation where I tell you things. But in good conversation we listen and respond and so does our partner. Each response changes the game slightly. I’ve found that I do that more naturally as I get older, perhaps as a result of realizing how much I was doing it wrong.

  4. eweber says:

    Wally, I’m intrigued here by your sense of change that is generated by and embedded in in any good conversation. What a reflection to take into any strong discussion, and how that notion for growth alters the tone! Thanks for the insight.

  5. Joe Williams says:

    Nice post, Ellen. I view the importance of feedback as critical in discovering if my meaning is getting across. Often I find that words I choose are conveing the opposite meaning! Or mean something else in a different context. Getting feedback will help situations like these.

  6. eweber says:

    Joe you build a great case for engaging other’s views – no wonder it works. Thanks for the insights.

    I’m curious though, as to reasons others miss your meanings, because your words convey opposite meanings. Is that because they do not understand the terminology? Can you elaborate a bit, because you likely speak for many here. Any examples? Thanks Joe

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