The Communication Dance
There is a fine line between constructive criticism and just flat out disapproval. Being on the receiving end can either be helpful or make you defensive. We are all born with the ability to express ourselves; we all know how to display emotions and we all communicate them, unfortunately we are not all equipped with the same ability of knowing exactly when we should communicate certain thoughts, feelings or suggestions, I call it tact. Some are born with it; and others, well sadly it takes a lifetime.
It comes down to communication, and trying to get our ideas across to others without offending.There is no right or wrong, it takes effort to communicate from both the giver and receiver of the information. It’s similar to a dance; where the movements and rhythm need to sync and flow in the same direction , a minor misstep can throw off the balance and alter the sequence. Being aware, observing, skill and communicating can bring it back to flow. Even if you have two left feet, you can learn and be more aware.
Communication is vital. You have to listen actively. You have to observe. Like a detective looking for clues. Malcolm Gladwell, says it best in his book, Blink, “it takes two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions…those instant conclusions the we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.” In those seconds you can observe and decide the kind of emotion the other is feeling or the intensity of their communication to you. The giver and receiver need to be mindful and observe.
Take a moment to respond. Breath before saying a word. Let the words settle. Now you can ask questions for clarity, you can rephrase what you heard to make sure you understood. If the communication you received is positive, no problem, you’re good to go. But if it happens to be negative, you want to make sure you heard correctly, the message you received is accurate. This clarification will help prevent further anxiety and miscommunications. Words do not have the same meaning to all. So changing some words to rephrase the message is a good choice.
If you are the giver of the information, make sure you are being clear and concise. Make sure you are being compassionate and sensitive to the person receiving the information. If you are looking to get results from the conversation, you need them working with you not against you. It’s all in the delivery, how you word and say things can be the difference between positive and negative outcomes. Speak from your heart be genuine.
Acceptance is a best friend. Perceptions are different from person to person. They are never exactly the same. Understand that the perception of this individual is not the same, and the way it was received by them may not have been intended. But it is their perception, and you have to accept that. You can try to explain it, or try to change it in the future, you may totally disagree – but it is valid to the other person. Next time you will know that it might take a little extra effort, or a softer tone, or a different expression. We all have a diversity of perspectives, if we want others to accept ours, than we need to be willing to accept those of others.
When all is said and done, the important thing to do is move forward. Do things differently. Continuing to sift through the rubble will not help; it will keep you from moving ahead and working on improving. Bring up suggestions that could create a better solution next time, discuss other results that might be more acceptable. You may think your way is best, sometimes best is not better. Ask what would be or seem better to them. The ideas and exchange of information is valuable to move forward. Each situation, each moment is different, you never know when that critique or disapproval could help and lead you to a better and more innovative solution to the new situation you are facing.
Choose your words wisely, listen actively, observe. Remember, it’s all in your delivery.