When we have difficulty understanding or getting through to others, it may be that we’ve forgotten the nature of the person we are talking to and/or how they process information. I knew my mom and her condition well enough to know that my approach wasn’t working (and wouldn’t work) with her, but I was stuck in the habit of interacting with her in a certain way. Yet, I couldn’t understand why things were so difficult. Go figure!
Most of the troubles I’m describing were the result of mindlessness, acting without thinking – based on habit. I continued to engage my mom in the same old ineffective ways day after day, and day after day, my approach wasn’t working, which only led to frustration. At last I became more mindful and changed my strategy to include my mom’s thought process instead just my own.
Principle 2: Remember your audience
When we are dealing with others “we” are not our own audience. The person we are engaging in conversation or are otherwise dealing with is our audience. So if the other person is our audience, it’s futile to use methods that would work for us and not the other person when we need the other person to understand our message. We are not trying to sell or influence ourselves; we’re trying to reach the other person.
If we keep trying to sell ourselves what we already have, know and understand, we will purchase our own for-sale house, when we needed an outside buyer!
In order to get others to understand our message, we must reach out to them in ways that they understand. When we’re trying to convey a message to someone else, we have to learn to think like them so we can provide what they need in the way that they need it for them to hear and receive whatever we are saying or doing. Otherwise, we are wasting our time and frustrating ourselves.
We can get so stuck in our habits and ways of being that it becomes challenging to consider that the other person may not think or feel the same way as we do. So mindlessly trying to reach out to someone else using methods that work only for us is like assuming that everyone in this vast world thinks the same as we do. And that assumption would be grossly inaccurate.
Hence, our interactions with others need to be in ways and methods that resonate with them, our target audience. And if we tailor our outreach/communication methods to fit our audience, we’ll have more successful interactions. And if nothing more, those we interact with at least will be clear on our meaning whether they agree with us or not.
However, we have to be flexible enough to change our approach when what we’re doing isn’t working. Knowing our audience and adjusting our communication to fit who they are and how they take in information, can save or improve our relationships, as well as help us retain our peace of mind and well-being. Try adjusting your message to fit the way your audience thinks the next time you need to communicate a difficult message to your spouse, significant other, child or coworker.