~ Communication Matters!

8th January 2020

Whether a verbal communication with a loved one, or an email communication with a work colleague as outlined below, often our perceptions are framed by our feelings at the moment we receive the message and we may mistake the intention of the message.

Have you ever been guilty of taking something someone said as an insult or that they are meaning to be unkind? Most of us have. More often than not I believe it is how we are feeling that defines how we hear or receive messages. They get lost in translation.

For example, if we arrive at work frazzled and tired. Bad nights sleep, argument with teenage child, barely making it on time at work. We then receive an email that to us sounds like an absolute criticism of our behaviour, work output or whatever. The crucial part here is “sounds like”. We are seeing the email through our lens, our filter and if we are not feeling quite “up to it” then we may see the words in a negative light. We can change this.

Taking a few deep breaths and waiting a while before replying is the first step – not always easy especially when our feathers are ruffled. Once we are calm we can evaluate the message objectively. Are we cross because of circumstances outlined earlier? Once we have determined the actual message rather than the words, we can then reply. Often the messages we receive are matter of fact and not intended to annoy or hurt us. How we are feeling defines our perception of the situation and it is worth re-evaluating even if the only outcome is that we have given ourselves time to reflect rather than reacting immediately with possibly unwelcome consequences.

Alex Roberts