The Importance Of Verifying In Effective Communication is absolutely vital Too often, rather than verifying, we jump to conclusions about what may be really going on with the other person and/or what they are communicating to us. Below I share a recent experience that illustrates this.
I was making conversation with Debbie, manager of a hair salon, while she was cutting my hair. Hearing that I teach Communicating Effectively with Compassion, she told me of some difficulties she was having with Sandy, one of her stylists.
“Sandy doesn’t follow through on what I ask her to do,” Debbie said, “and I don’t know how to resolve it. This has been going on for two years now, and if we can’t work it out soon I’ll have to let her go.
” I offered to speak with Sandy and see if I could help, and Debbie happily agreed. When Sandy and I sat down to chat, she told me she sincerely wants to follow through on what Debbie asks of her. So what was the problem? “I don’t always hear what Debbie tells me,” Sandy said, “and other times I don’t hear it in the way she meant it.”
And there was an additional problem. Sandy has ADD, making it hard for her to focus on a task for longer than 20-30 minutes. “It is why being a hairstylist works so well for me,” she said. “Twenty minutes, and I’m on to the client.” How might Sandy and Debbie resolve this? An important skill of effective communication is “Verifying,” which is to make sure that what we heard is in fact what the speaker intended.
This may seem to be a matter of simply paying attention, but there is actually more to this. There are many reasons why we might hear the speaker but misunderstand what was said. One reason is that we all speak and hear through our own individual “filters”. These “filters” are the way we understand things based on our background, our life experiences, etc.
Other times, emotions such as anger, hurt or worry can cloud the underlying message and make it hard to understand. This is why “verifying” is such an important part of communication. For Debbie and Sandy the problem was easy to correct. I suggested that Debbie ask Sandy to repeat what she heard as a way of verifying that Sandy understood what Debbie had in mind.
A second suggestion had to do with Sandy suffering from ADD. I recommended that Debbie give Sandy tasks of short duration. I asked both of them how these ideas resonated for them, and they were enthusiastic and committed to trying this out. I am reminded of something I read in The Lost Art of Listening (page 126), by Michael Nichols, Ph.D.
If you want to make any relationship more rewarding, practice responsive listening. Responsive listening means hearing the other person out, then letting him know what you understood him to be saying. If you’re right, the speaker will feel a grateful sense of being understood. If you didn’t quite get what he intended to say, your feedback allows him another chance to explain.”
Sometimes the reason for failed communication is as simple as one person not understanding what the other has said. The skill of “Verifying” can be helpful in creating effective connection. For both Debbie and Sandy, it was a far better choice than loss of a skilled employee and a job.
I encourage and welcome your comments, sharing, and feedback. If you would like to have a deeper experience of using the tools of communicating effectively with compassion I invite you to participate as my guest in the first two classes of my next Communicating Effectively With Compassion 10 Session Tele-class.
© 2012 Bernard Uzi Weingarten
If you have found this article of value and want to explore these skills further and master them, I invite you to the first two sessions of my next Communicating Effectively With Compassion tele-course, FREE as my guest. Register at uziteaches.com