I once ordered a coconut latte. I received a regular latte with coconut syrup. What I wanted was a latte made with coconut milk. I blamed the barista, but was that fair? This was clearly a miscommunication, but whose fault was it?
Communication is often less about what you want to say and more about what your listener needs to hear. If you approach your communication tasks from the listener’s perspective, you will find that communication is easier and more effective. This could mean adding sufficient background information to a request, adding justification to an opinion, or simply acknowledging the legitimacy of the other person’s ideas before you disagree. It may also mean getting out of your head a bit, really thinking carefully about the other person before you speak, and when things do not go as planned, accepting responsibility for the miscommunication.
I really should not have blamed the barista for my mistaken coffee order. I should have asked for a latte made with coconut milk.
One of the biggest benefits of communication training is awareness. When we begin to think consciously about how we communicate, we begin to consider how we can do it better. The first step is to shift the focus away from ourselves.