Our Associate Jackie Hart discusses Communication and the challenges it can bring:
Communication can be a challenge, it can be a challenge because we are all human beings with our own view of the world and how it works, and as a consequence, we will interpret how others communicate with us in a way that fits into our view. Of course, you will be aware that others see things differently, but you know how it really is – don’t you?
Sometimes it can be beneficial to take a moment in the other person’s shoes in order to understand the best way of communicating with them. For example, a lady I was working with was feeling under an enormous amount of pressure from an organisation she was working with to get referrals for other members of the organisation. She would have to go to meetings every two weeks and declare how many referrals she had obtained and for who. She had decided that her son would be able to use the services of one organisation and in her eagerness to avoid the embarrassment of not hitting her target was putting a great deal of pressure on him. This had culminated in an argument between them in the car which she was still very angry about.
We set up four chairs as if they were a car and she sat in the passenger seat where she had been and re-enacted the scene from her perspective, she was angry and frustrated. She then moved to the seat where her son had been and ran through the whole incident as if she was him, now she was slightly embarrassed. Finally, she sat in her husband’s position and ran through the situation as if she was watching from the outside, not involved, it was as if a light had come on. Finally, she returned to her original position and ran through the argument again with the knowledge of how it had felt for the others. She was no longer angry and frustrated with her son, and realised that it had been inappropriate to behave in such a way, her anger and frustration was actually with the organisation that was putting her under so much pressure, but she had been using her son’s refusal to agree to something he didn’t need or want as an outlet for those feelings. As a consequence of the exercise, she rang and apologised to her son and cancelled her membership in the organisation. She now feels much more relaxed!
Carrying out this exercise had enabled her to remove herself from her own feelings and needs long enough to take an objective view.
Understanding the other person’s point of view will always aid communication, you don’t have to agree to understand.
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