How Do Communication Gaps Happen?
March 9, 2021
There have been numerous occasions where, in conversations, I have said some stuff that I felt was innocuous, but the other side thought that I was rude, disrespectful, or arrogant.
I have often wondered why it is so. I know I had no mal intent, and I was genuine. Yet, the other person was twisting my words the wrong way?
I know today that there is a good reason why communication gaps arise unintentionally.
When we speak with someone, we judge ourselves basis the thoughts we have in our heads, but we judge others based on their actions and the words they speak. The vice versa is equally valid.
Therefore, when we try to explain something to someone else, we may think we did a fantastic job because we are evaluating ourselves basis on our thinking. Inside our heads, we know what we want to say, but unfortunately, the words we say and our body language convey a different story. Our words and actions are what the other person judges us on and not our intention.
I vividly remember this episode. In an office meeting a few years back, one of my younger colleagues presented a report. After listening to the summary of the business report, I started out saying, “The way the facts are presented is misleading……………….”
I thought I was objective in my feedback, and I was not casting any aspersion on the work she had done. But my young colleague thought I was judging the quality of work she did. After the meeting ended, she met up with me, upset. ” I worked so hard at preparing the report, and you targetted me in front of others!!”
I was stunned by the feedback, and I learned a vital lesson that day. What I “thought” I was conveying was not the same as what she heard me say. If communication gaps were to be avoided, the burden was on me to choose carefully the words I speak and the body language I convey.