Derailing Assumptions Part 2

BusinessteamRemember the childhood game Telephone? You know the one. A group sits in a circle and one person whispers something to their neighbor, who then passes it to their neighbor until it’s reached the last person. Adrenaline builds as participants make confused faces when they hear the secret message, and everyone wonders what each other has heard. When the secret is finally announced to the group, it’s rarely what the first person said, which leads to giggles and cries to play again. Those were the days, right?

In real life, miscommunication is not that funny. We can be poor interpreters when we make assumptions. What we hear is not always what was said. What we hear is filtered through our life experiences, not through the intentions for which it was said.

It’s important to clarify the intention and content of what we hear. Especially when it rubs us the wrong way.

TRY THIS: Ask for clarification. “What do you mean by that?” “Help me understand what you meant by…” “I’m confused by…”Sometimes clarification helps defuse escalating conversations. Get in the habit of clarifying by practicing in normal conversations. The more practice we have, the easier it will be to clarify in tense interactions.

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