“Every man supposes himself not to be fully understood or appreciated.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have coached many people who begin their coaching session with me in a state of frustration because they have recently had one of these 3 experiences…
1. They feel that they are often not being understood by others.
2. They are having arguments with others over misunderstandings.
3. They are wondering why others do not do what they are asking them to do.
They feel that the problem is always with the other person. And, they are ready to tear their hair out because “no one is listening” to them.
They don’t like it very much at first, when I explain that each of us is responsible for being understood by others.
So, I offer them simple solutions so they can be heard by others more clearly, effectively and successfully.
Here are a few of my simple solutions that begin with questions I ask myself to ensure I am heard by others in the way I intend to be heard and understood:
- Have I determined that I am making a wise decision in choosing this person to receive and take action on my request? Of course, there are times when the only way to find out is to actually ask the person for their assistance.
- If it is an on-going request, have I made the request in writing so that the other person can refer to it over and over again if necessary?
- Have I been specific in terms of the date and time by when I want to receive their reply?
- Have I been specific in terms of how I want to receive their reply – in-person, phone, email, Facebook, etc.?
- Have I explained the reason for making the request and the end result that I expect to receive so that the other person has sufficient understanding of the scope of the request?
- If the request is related to a large and important project, have I created short-term due dates and agreements to monitor the progress of the project along the way?
- Have I read and re-read my written request to ensure that I would understand it if I received it from someone else?
Only after I have completed answering all of the above questions do I send or deliver my request to the other person.
And, then I make sure I receive an agreement – in writing — from the other person that they will accept my request by the day and time I have requested.
Before I began accepting that I am accountable for this process, I experienced a lot of wear and tear on my emotions. The stress of wondering whether or not someone would actually follow-through on a request I made would often lead to sleepless nights.
Now, if I choose to make a request without completing all the above steps, then I make a mental note to myself to expect that I may not get the result I intend to get.
This is important because it reminds me that it would be silly to get frustrated if I do not get the result I want….since I am ultimately responsible for that result.
This is especially true if I am making a request of my husband. Since we make many requests of each other throughout the day, we often choose to not put our requests in writing…and often we do have a misunderstanding. At these times, I do my best to stay calm and realize that my request had not been clearly conveyed to my husband in a way that ensured I would receive what I requested.
Of course, I can do all the steps above and still not get the intended result. When that happens, here’s how I handle it to keep my own energy high:
- I ask the other person what they understood from my instructions and I wait for them to reply so that I can understand where I did not clearly state my request. I then clarify my request and determine if they are willing to accept my request.
- If they are not willing or they are unable to accept my request, I say ‘thank you.’ And, then I consider other ways for accomplishing my goal.
- If they are willing and able to accept my request, I co-create with them a new agreement. The new agreement is put into writing and we both receive a copy.
Now, if a request is not fulfilled, I use it as an opportunity to improve the clarity of my communication, as well as my clarity in attracting the perfect people to assist me in achieving my goals as I keep my eye firmly focused on how to most effectively and successfully achieve my goals.
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Go For Yes Success Strategist
Speaker, Best-Selling Author
CEO, Chi-To-Be!, LLC