Everyone I talk to about this subject has the belief that communication is a two way street and that if there is a miscommunication then the fault lies with both parties. This is an ideal outlook on a less than ideal interaction. When it comes right down to it, if there is a miscommunication it is our fault because we did not communicate in a way that it would be accepted for what we were trying to communicate. We need to learn to take responsibility for that situation so that it is still in our sphere of influence to change and overcome. As soon as we split the responsibility for the situation between ourselves and the other person, we are expecting them to be part of the solution when they may not have any desire or ability to be so. It is better to influence what we can on our side of the situation to improve it.
The fact of the matter is that the other person’s filters might be what are getting in the way of clear communication, but that doesn’t change how we need to react to it at all. We need to take the reasonability on ourselves to work to improve the situation. This can be as simple as rephrasing what we meant if we think the problem is a conceptual one, or we can go to even further lengths to solve the problem. When it comes down to interactions, not only do our filters define how we communicate the information or concept, but the other person’s filters change how that is received. This is the most likely reason that there is a miscommunication in the first place and there are a couple ways that we can work in our sphere of influence to overcome this challenge.
The first method is the easy one, but it is less productive in the long run. This option is to just move on without trying to create clarity. This only works if the communication wasn’t overly important to begin with and has no real consequence outside the immediate displeasure of the miscommunication.
The second option is the one that we should strive for at any point where we can. That method is to learn how the perception filters are affecting the communication in the first place. The first part of this is going to be learning ourselves and how our filters change how we send out communication. This is going to give us a good idea of what we are putting out into the world and how that is might be interpreted by others. The other half of this is to learn about the person you are communicating with and how their filters might change what you are saying in create the miscommunication. It is better to learn how to communicate in a way that will be heard by the other person so that your message is understood than it is to stand on your soap box and communicate in the comfortable way for us that is being misunderstood by the people we are talking to. Just as we have to change how we deal with situations and with different kinds of people, we need to learn how to communicate in many different ways so that we can have real communication instead of a series of botched attempts.
Internal analysis and actively choosing to take full responsibility for the miscommunication and rephrasing to create understanding are the only ways that we can have productive interactions. It is time to get everyone on the same page and that means getting on their page instead of forcing them onto your page.