One of the most challenging aspects of human relations, in my opinion, is communication. During some years I thought that age difference, language or cultural idiosyncrasies were the primary sources for misunderstandings.
But the more I meet so many diverse people, the easier it is to understand that all the reasons listed above are important but are not the fundamental cause of miscommunication.
At the core of many of our problems is our incapacity to express what we think or want.
We often rush or procrastinate in our thinking processes.
Over and over we only clarify our mind after our words already traveled to someones else hears. And that can put us in a tough position, especially if we are not ready for what comes next.
Some people like to blame it on the receptor of the message. It is a classic.
- You did not understand what I said.
Others take the blame automatically, self-inflicting pain and regret.
- I am so sorry. I did not explain myself adequately.
Lately, I noticed that technology could play a vital role to minimize such challenge. Words are critical, but many times they are not enough. Usually, we need to see and sense beyond the talk, to have a broader perspective.
People say a lot with their body language. It is complicated to hide a tired face, an anxious posture or passionate eyes.
This weekend I re-start the long strolls with the Walking Mentorship programs, and every new group is an opportunity for me to improve. This year I incorporate in my work a little task I tested in my University classes, and it seems to work pretty well.
I ask a couple of questions to help each person (and myself) understand better the current moment. Inquiring about the way you feel, what is pressing and what is calling? Help to pave the way to identify your focus question which is the initial goal of a mentoring relationship.
When you are “forced” to consolidate your thoughts you think!
I request my mentees to send me a video with the answers. Yes, a video! Words, images, and sounds, the all whole shebang of emotions.
Do it a few days before, not longer than that. Otherwise, no one will pay attention to you. Later when we start the program, I ask the same questions again, and this time the answer will be a shining diamond.
Next time you can ask for a video.
Either you have doubts about what someone is trying to tell you, or you can help other people express better their ideas.
We are off to the big Alqueva Lake in Portugal, a beautiful setting to stop, reconnect, gain perspective and take action!
The next group for the Camino the Santiago is already full, but the program in June (8-16) still has one place available. Maybe is yours?
In the meantime,
Keep walking with me
João Perre Viana