The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Have you ever taken the time to communicate with another, and felt like you had finally broken a barrier and got through to the other party, only to discover later that it was an illusion and nothing had changed whatsoever?
We spend so much time interacting with others, it becomes so important to know if your point is made so that progress can be accomplished. Otherwise, we would be having the same discussion day after day like Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore on 50 first dates (because she has no short term memory).
One of the best ways to know if your communication is working, is to get part way through explaining something and ask the other party a question or two. Not an antagonistic question like, “have you even heard one thing I said?” Better to ask a question that let’s them venture an opinion that has deep impact on whatever you are discussing. If you are in a conflict together and you are trying to get your perspective across, you might ask in the middle, “What might your perspective be if you found yourself doing/feeling X and you wanted to find a solution?
A non antagonistic question allows the other party to extrapolate some of what you have communicated and put it to thought if they are able to respond to your question. If your question has been constructed intelligently, you will find your other party looking within to answer with value. If your question is antagonistic, criticizing, or judgmental, you will instantly distance your other party, and all communication thereafter will pass through the negative filter you have just created. So your question must be both intelligent as well as strategic.
If we walk away feeling like the discussion had merit and learn soon thereafter that it was falling on deaf ears, we have both wasted time and effort to a negative outcome. Perhaps better to really find that connection that can be made with the other person and build upon it slowly and watch the connective tissue manifest. Let each stage of connection demonstrate to you how you both communicate effectively so that your relationship will grow with each and every encounter.
Sometimes communication will not work. No matter what. Living in the illusion that it will, is just that, an illusion. If the communication is not operating as it should, you can always come back to the other party and be transparent with a statement such as: I very much wish that we could find a common ground upon which to grow this connection. At the moment, I am feeling challenged that this is possible, but I remain optimistic. Perhaps you might suggest a pathway that we can grow? As Rumi so wisely shared… Somewhere beyond the field of right and wrong is a pasture. I will meet you there.
Communication is the secret to happiness. Learn how you may best use it to your greatest advantage.