Communication is a singular important matter in all interactions between people. But most people don’t focus in a manner befitting this importance. Communication does not always happen in a way leading to understanding on the same level between the participants in the conversation. This is high-lighted by a quote that I like:
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place – George Bernard Shaw
Do the people you communicate with understand what you are trying to convey? If you think so, how do you know? Odds are the communications are not as clear as you think.
That is because it takes more than just you speaking. It also takes the other person listening fully. And it takes the other person not only understanding what you said, but what you were trying to convey.
Think about yourself. When someone is speaking with you, are you listening or thinking about what you are going to say next. If you are thinking about what to say next, you are not listening fully. If so, it is likely you will miss something the other person wants you to know and understand.
Listening fully is challenging whether in person or on the phone. In person you may be able to tell someone is not understanding or listening to you based on their responses (or lack of responses) and body language. How can you tell on the phone? Maybe by the response or the delay in the response. Or do you hear typing or mouse clicks, signaling the person on the other end of the line is focused on something on their computer and not what you’re saying.
Actual communication where both people listen and understand each other is exception, not the rule. This is true in business and at home. You can ask questions to make sure the other person understands what you are saying. Or at home, you can ask your child to stop texting while the two of you talk. Then take the time to look at how you listen in live conversations or over the phone to make sure you are not missing anything.