1. While communicating with others, you appear distracted by texting, picking up and straightening your office, or fiddling with other duties and responsibilities. (The worst one of all — knitting or participating in crochet while communicating with someone, explaining that it helps you concentrate better.
2. Interrupting – Oh! Wait! – because you are suddenly reminded of something “more important” than what you are hearing from your communication partner.
3. Showing impatience by responding to the speaker before information has been completely conveyed by him or her.
4. Listening, but only enough to grasp the nature of a problem – (your thinking is that you have heard enough, and can ignore the rest, thereby dismissing your communication partner’s need to share it.)
5. Asking the speaker to hurry up and finish. (Squirming in one’s chair will embellish this particular annoyance.)
6. Ceasing to listen when you hear something with which you disagree, and instead starting to think of how to respond to it, thereby losing the larger point of your communication partner’s message.
Effective communication is based on a foundation of trust and respect. With each interaction you create an “emotional bank account” with others. Relationships are challenging when we are “overdrawn”.
“I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”
So, what can be done?
First, take personal responsibility for improving your own communication behavior. It is easy to blame the other person and find fault with how they communicate. That won’t solve the problem. You must be willing to examine your own behavior and work to make improvements.
I’d love to hear if any of these six apply to you – either because you do any of them (it’s ok, no judgment), or any have been done to you.
In my next blog post, I’ll give you actionable ideas on how you can take personal responsibility if you feel that any of these apply to you. Stay tuned!