Why don’t you Understand?

Over the past few days, I’ve been ruminating about how to communicate more clearly. Sometimes, I start a conversation with my wife, and I quickly realize that she’s not tracking me. My initial response is one of irritation. “What’s her problem?”I ask myself. “What I’m talking about is so clear to me, “ the inner dialogue continues. “Maybe she’s just not paying attention,” is the final note from the inner voice.

As I sit looking over these words, I realize that what’s off isn’t her listening, it’s my speaking. So what’s up? It seems that the more familiar I am with someone, the more quickly my mouth gets engaged. I’m not sure why this is so, but what’s important is recognizing that I don’t consider what I’m going to say before words start tumbling out.

Clear communication is such an important part of relationships. Misunderstanding and distrust are fostered by lack of clarity. If you’re like me, you want your most important relationships to have the qualities of authenticity and trust. This doesn’t happen automatically. It comes from absolute deliberateness.

I have been operating with a belief that is not helpful. I have thought that with those to whom I’m closest, I can just be loose and free with my talking. This lack of attention has a cost, I realize, that I’m unwilling to continue to pay.

So what do I do? Well, I am implementing a time delay (could be as short as a few milliseconds) before my mouth starts. In this delay, I will feel if what I’m about to communicate is important to speak and if so, what’s the most effective way to communicate so that it is understood.

I have been in the world of business and technology for many years. If I use language that has very specific meaning in this world with someone who doesn’t have the same background, confusion will be the certain outcome. A more effective way of speaking is finding words that convey the essence of what I want someone to understand so that they can relate to it.

Well, I’ve got my work cut out for me. This is so important that it has moved to the top echelon of importance. I will let you know how it’s working out in a few weeks.


Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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