Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let's Talk

Sounds simple. You speak, others listen, and visa versa. But talk/listen is mainly noise. To achieve communications - the understanding of others - requires an understanding of the process. Communications starts with thoughts. These thoughts are developed based on our experiences. The thoughts must then be converted into words. The words must then be spoken. The person spoken to must then hear the words, and based on their experiences, convert them into thoughts.

There is much room for error in the process. Errors can be reduced by the following: identify your assumptions about the speaker and suspend judgement, listen and focus on learning, respect differences, ask open-ended questions, express disagreement in terms of ideas, not personality or motives. If you or the speaker are tense, pause and identify the reason for the tension.

Let’s talk – with those we know, and with those we don’t. Let’s work to achieve understanding. We may not agree. If we disagree there is always a way to resolve a conflict peacefully. It may take time. It may take negotiations. It will take skill. It will take intelligence. But there is ALWAYS a way.

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