It's your thoughts that count in communication
'The quality of your communication is the response you get'.
Too often, we communicate poorly and then blame the recipients of our message if their reaction is not what we expected. What would happen if we looked at ourselves instead, and considered what would have happened if we had used different words, a different tone of voice, or had chosen a better time, or medium, to communicate in the first place?
Now I'm not talking about just chatting with friends, although we can sometimes unwittingly cause upset even then! I'm talking about our communication in all sorts of circumstances. Telephone conversations and email messages are harder to get right than face to face communication. When we're face to face with someone we have the added benefit of being able to 'read' their body language - a frown, lowered eyes, a tightening jaw, or even a dismissive shrug.
'Surely you're not suggesting that I think before I speak', you might say. Well, that's exactly what I'm saying. If you want a certain outcome from a conversation - a helpful sales assistant, an understanding tax inspector, a creative web designer - then I suggest that you prepare for your conversation in advance. Put yourself into the shoes of the person who'll be receiving your message and imagine how they're going to feel about answering your questions and listening to you. We're all different. Standing in someone else's shoes and seeing the situation from their point of view can be very enlightening.
Preparation may take extra time. But that's nothing to the time we save by getting our communication right in the first place so that we don't have to repair relationships and explain that that wasn't what we really meant. It takes a long time to earn someone's trust. And that trust can disappear in the blink of an eye - often because of poor communication.
It is our thoughts that count. Better thoughts will almost inevitably result in better communication.