1) Don't let your trip ruin your backAccording to data from the US Census Bureau, the average American travels 25.5 minutes to work each way, and nearly 10% of us spend up to an hour or more driving each way. Most of us don't configure our car seats for proper ergonomics, so our time behind the wheel can seriously damage our posture.Driving with your hands towards the top of the steering wheel te...
You hear the word “alcoholism” and react without emotion when you say that it is a disease that can have sad side effects. Your friend reacts passionately every time the topic is discussed.
You share firm and definitive opinions when wage inequalities for women are discussed. Your friend dispassionately accepts that it is unfortunate.
The words are meaningless. They are the symbols that the sender uses to express thoughts, beliefs and ideas and intonation is affected by their origin, values, experiences, behavioral style and knowledge. The receiver uses the same criteria to interpret the words. That is why the sender does not always get the expected response or the same response from two people.
This is one of the principles of communication that makes the process difficult at work and at home.
In the first example, your friend still vividly remembers how his alcoholic father left when he was eight years old. He also remembers how his mother had two jobs to pay the rent for his small apartment and how his sister was the only one who was home with him most of the time. You, on the other hand, have never personally experienced the disease with family or friends.
However, as a woman, you have personally experienced wage inequalities and now see that your daughter continues to experience the same. It angers you! His friend is a well-paid single lawyer and his sister is living a comfortable life as a mother and a homemaker. Her mother worked as a cleaning lady and in a restaurant, so she believes she was paid quite a bit for what she did. You have never given much thought to gender-equal pay.
As these examples show, different people can react emotionally or intellectually to the same words. Sometimes, as a sender, you try to get people to respond more intellectually or more emotionally, depending on your purpose for communicating. What takes you by surprise is when you think you’ve chosen your words carefully and your audience of one or a hundred reacts differently.
The sender and receiver are equally responsible for trying to make the communication process work. Here are some tips to help you in both roles.
Suggestions for the sender
· Deliberately avoiding discriminatory language in the areas of gender, race, religion and age.
Listen carefully with your ears and eyes. Become a shrewd student of body language and watch for furrowed eyebrows, crossed arms or legs, and other signs that you may have annoyed the other person.
· If you are presenting for an association or company, do your research! Ask if there are topics or words that are taboo.
Suggestions for the receiver,
If possible, clear the air immediately if a word or words concern you. If you harbor anger, resentment, hurt, or confusion, it will cloud the rest of the interaction and perhaps even future ones.
o During one of my DiSC-based communication workshops, I divided the participants into groups and asked them to list the good qualities of other behavioral styles. One of the groups used the word “robotic” in what they thought was a complementary way. The people being described found the word unfavorable. Working together, they came up with “structured”, which was to everyone’s liking.
o In another workshop exercise that required participants to think of words they habitually use that might be perceived differently than they intended, a man shared the following story. He is a computer trainer and he said he started a class by saying, “Today you will receive the Bible from all computer training.” One of his assistants immediately said, “I only know one Bible and it doesn’t deal with computers.” The man admitted that he was shocked and today he is much more careful in his choice of words.
· Keep your personal filter clean.
o List your biases and work to overcome them. Ask yourself if they are based on race, gender, religion, age, status, educational background, or other.
o Form your opinion in the moment. Do not prejudge situations, presenters, co-workers or parents or children’s reactions, a book before they have read it or the taste of food before they have eaten it.
o Be proactive. Read books and magazines, attend seminars, listen to CDs, watch select television shows that will help you grow personally and professionally.
Listen carefully to everything the other person has to say, even when you disagree.
Wait to speak until the other person has finished.