One day, my husband and I attended one of the kids’ school orientations. We drove there from different locations so he was in one vehicle and I was in another one. When we were leaving the orientation, I told him I would meet him at Chick-fil-A in Bentonville so we could eat dinner. He said, “Okay. See you there.” After arriving at Chick-fil-A and waiting for him for about 20 minutes, I decided to call and see what happened. He said, “I’m here.” Where are you?” Of course, I said, “We’re here at the one in Bentonville.” Then, we discovered there was miscommunication. He was at the one in Rogers, which is about 15 minutes away. Of course, we were both frustrated because everyone was hungry and we both were right in our assumption.
As much as I thought I was right because I clearly stated where we would meet, he didn’t hear that or either had the other location on his mind. Needless to say, we could have argued over who was right and who was wrong but it really didn’t matter. We had failed to communicate effectively.
How many times have you thought you clearly communicated a message to a spouse, friend, family member, or boss and discovered you were misheard or there was a cross in signals? At those moments, it’s not time to point the fingers and toss around blame but to both admit something went wrong and quickly work towards fixing the problem. In my experience, my husband and I had to decide who was going to move to the other location. However, some people just give up out of frustration and abandon the restaurant all together. Some people, will just stay where they are and not worry about meeting the other person. Some people will change locations and meet the other person.
Effective communication is key to getting anywhere in life. You must clearly state your message, thoughts and perceptions and ask if what you stated was clear. You may have to repeat the information and make no assumptions. Decide today to be more intentional in your communication, making sure you clearly state what you mean. Life’s too short for communication mishaps.
~Coletta Jones Patterson
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