Developments in 2019

For over 20 years I've had a foot in two camps - purchasing and personal development.

Whilst often delivering both to clients I've kept my social media separate. That double life has confused clients, and me, which has led to the decision to move my blogging to my personal development blog - Landscaping Your Life.

I do hope that you'll join me there as we continue to explore landscaping our success together.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Language that improves understanding

In order to communicate to anyone we delete, distort or generalise in order to give them a condensed map of our thoughts, feelings or memories. We have to otherwise we'd be there all day just asking someone if we could have a cup of tea? That is we have to assume they we have common understanding about what a cup is and what tea is - even if anyone expecting english tea can be a little suprised when they get peppermint tea. 

The issue of course with condensing meaning is that can lead to miscommunciation - with assumptions being made about what we meant by the few words we did choose to use. I remember having a disagreement with a colleague once where she was telling me what I wanted to do was "wrong." I just couldn't understand why we weren't in agreement because normally we were. So I said "currently there's something missing from my understanding of the situation because I don't understand why you think it's wrong - tell me more - what am I missing?"   
Effective communication therefore requires us to ask questions to expand our understanding of someone else's map to:

• change meanings (undistort)
• retrieve information (undelete)
• expand limits (ungeneralise)

In other words we ask open questions - what, how, when, who, where, which, whose etc.

If we can determine whether someone is generalising, deleting or distorting it will impact the type of questions we ask - such as:

Distortions:
"His voice irritates me" - how does his voice cause you to be irritated?
"Taking calls in a meetings means you don't respect me" - have you ever taken a call in a meeting without it meaning you didn't respect the person?

Deletions
"He's a better purchaser" - who is, better than who?
"They don't understand" - who doesn't?

Generalisations
"No-one knows what's going on" - what no-one?
"I must do this report" - what would happen if you didn't?

Next time you're just about to react to what someone has said why not ask a few more questions to check understanding - you might just be surprised.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective stakeholder engagement

This post is part of a series introducing some NLP tools and techniques that can significantly improve your stakeholder engagement, communication and team working.

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