OPEN YOUR EARS, LET THE UNDERSTANDING BEGIN

I guess I’m on a communications kick these days, so hear we go again (misspelling on purpose)!

dog

Is there a difference between what you hear and what the other person is saying? See my favorite, Gary Larsen, and his famous Farside cartoon. Is this how you are communicating, either hearing or speaking? Is your message getting lost in translation?

And how will you know if your message has been received clearly or how can you be sure you heard someone else’s message as it was meant to be understood? For lack of a more elegant process, maybe repetition will work?

If you want to be sure, and make the other person comfortable, that you heard his or her message clearly, how about repeating it back? “So if I understand you correctly, you want me to stay out of the garbage.”

If you are the one who wants to make sure your message has been received properly, maybe ask “So, what are you going to do now based on what I just told you?” When you get a response that lets you know your message was received, you will feel much better!

Often there is a simple matter of hearing something different than the person was saying, and then perpetuating that error for a long time. For instance, my daughter always thought we travelled over the “Babe Bridge” to get to the beach, not the Bay Bridge. It was years until that misconception was discovered!

Song lyrics are famous for being misunderstood. All the times I had been listening to the Foo Fighters singing their song “Learning to Fly,” I could have sworn that Dave Grohl was “looking to this guy to save me,” when he was actually “looking for the sky to save me.” Contextually, “the sky” fits in better with the theme of flying than does “this guy,” but hey, my hearing’s not perfect! See for yourself:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/foofighters/learntofly.html