The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ready, Fire, Aim. . .

We speak often about communicating. How can we communicate in a more positive way? In the world we live in there are many different types of communicating. Many years ago people only communicated with neighbors. And only if they would walk to the other neighbors. There were no easy means for travel. There were no telephones. And if someone a great distance away needed to be sent a message, they communicated via telegraph. Using telegraph required a certain skill set to ensure messages were crafted in the most efficient way. After all, you paid by the word. Mail was delivered by mailmen on horses. Then along came telephones and cars. More efficient mail deliveries. Now we have graduated to instant communication. We have cell phones, email, Twitter, BB messenger, Linkedin, Skype, and many other means for communication. Along with all these ways of communicating has come a certain deterioration in the way we communicate.

Years ago, when you became angry at someone else, it took considerable effort to communicate that to the person you were upset with. If the communication happened face to face it was not so easy to express anger or frustration. When you look someone in the eye anger can often dissipate before it is expressed. Even expressing anger during a telephone call is difficult, although somewhat easier than face to face. Now, with instant messaging, we often communicate and express feelings without giving ourselves the time to think things through. How often, when we do send an email, do we wish we could recall the message after having given it a sober second thought? Hence the title to this blog. The idea is to get ready, aim and then fire. Far too often we get ready, fire and then aim. Make sense?

Using today’s means of communication also lacks in any type of personal touch. Messages become short and to the point. Often when I get emails I wonder at the intent. It is easy to read into messages certain emotions or lack of emotion that may or may not be there. Then we are left to wonder. We second guess. Anyone that has any self-esteem issues knows what I mean.

So we need to learn, or should I say, relearn the art of communication. I am preparing a presentation on “how to listen so people will talk”. I have suggested before that the best communicators listen more than they talk. It can be difficult. When you are in a passionate discussion it is hard not to interrupt, to argue a point that has not even been made yet. It is very difficult to sit back and listen. To really try to understand the point that the other person is making, we need to do a better job of listening.

Perhaps we need to change our mind set. Instead of thinking we need to change the other person’s mind or way of thinking, we need to make an effort to understand. Turn judgement to curiosity. We become empowered when we are understood. We empower others when we try to understand. Perhaps it is not a matter of being right. Perhaps it’s not a matter of proving the other one wrong. It’s a matter of listening and understanding. Because when we understand we draw closer to the truth. And the truth shall set you free. Make it a good one.

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