One of the things that stands out in my mind from when I got an MBA, is that communication is the biggest challenge in corporations. I have found that is certainly true in all of life. Communication, of course, is a huge topic written about in many books. I would like to bring out one very important point about communication in this blog: Don’t let personal issues get in the way.
I notice how people react to a communication breakdown. They often feel that the other person is not listening to them or doesn’t value them. As a result, they become irate. I’ve also noticed that people are habitually too quick to express themselves without carefully choosing their words. In fact, they often don’t make sense. They may leave out critical information or don’t express themselves clearly in one form or another. People’s thoughts often make perfect sense to them but they will leave out key points in their expression.
You may take someone’s words as a personal assault or you may become hostile towards what you perceive as a personal shortcoming of that person. Either way, it is taken on a personal level. What is actually trying to be communicated becomes secondary with personal conflict becoming center stage.
The all-important question is how do you get past that? I say again: Don’t let personal issues get in the way. Try to remain calm. Take a step back. Collect your thoughts and get into balance. Be patient with yourself and the other person. You just can’t allow an emotional tangent to overtake you. If you do, chances are that will spur an emotional tangent in the person you are trying to communicate with. Then you are both off and running, doing the hostility cha-cha with one another.
Please realize that in such communication breakdowns, you don’t realize it to be a communication breakdown in the moment. You generally perceive it as a personal flaw in one form or another. You’ve got to get over that hump to truly communicate with someone. Communication takes work even when personal issues aren’t in the way. Getting frustrated only makes communication more challenging. The other person usually takes your frustration personally. You have to be patient with the process of becoming a good communicator.
So, in closing, I say again: Don’t let personal issues get in the way. You’ve got to work with and around personal issues until there is a meeting of minds.