Communication is one of those things that can be tough even when everyone is doing it well.

But let’s face it, some people do not do it so well. And tend not to notice it. i thought today maybe we can help them notice it. Warning though – there may be a moment when the person noticing it needs to be you… or me. There will be an invitation at the end to add your suggestions [without mentioning names!]

These are some of the communication buffers that i have come across -as you’re reading i imagine some people you know might come to mind:

#1 The Early Yes Nod – this is probably my worst one and it’s pretty subtle but i find it so annoying. You are halfway through a sentence and have not yet got to the main point or punchline of it and the person nods… or says “Yes!” So you do a bit of a double take, cos something seemed a little off. But you carry on talking. And it happens again. And again. And you realise that the person is giving you a programmed response as opposed to responding to what you’re actually saying. Anyone know someone who does this? Cos it is completely disconcerting. i actually ended up avoiding having contact with the person i knew who did that because there was such a complete sense of not being listened to.

#2 The Train – i know a few people like this. You spend an hour with them and say five sentences and they have filled up the rest of the time. With no breaks. At some point it starts to feel like you are being talked at and not to or with. A question to pose to yourself when you are midway through a conversation with someone is, “Have i spent any time listening? Have i given this person a chance to share some of their stuff?”

#3 The Completely Investe… LOOK A SQUIRREL!! Actually this one might rival Early Yes Nod. You’re busy having a conversation with someone, probably more often in a group of people, and this guy pulls out his cellphone and starts scrolling or texting or whatever. The height of rudeness. i have never been a huge fan of phones interrupting conversation. If, for example, you and i are out for coffee and your phone rings and you answer it, basically what you are saying to me is that anyone [even a wrong number] is more important than me right now. If you can switch your phone off during a movie [and PLEASE, for your personal safety, do that] or a church service or wedding, then you can switch it off when you have chosen to spend time with me. This one is just completely rude.

#4 The X=Y=Z Responder [plan response while listening] – maybe we all fall into this one a little. Or maybe i say that just cos i know i have from time to time but i don’t think it’s my default setting. When listening to someone sharing something really deep and meaningful, you start to plan your response – a follow up question, a similar story from that time YOU were on band camp etc… The problem with that is that you stop listening to them and your focus goes somewhere inside your brain. i know, for myself, i have had to actually tell myself off in my brain when i catch myself doing that – it’s easier for it to happen when you’re tired or stressed and so sometimes can just be a discipline of really focusing on what is being said.

So there are four examples which in order i would suggest happen because of being oblivious, selfish, rude and probably rude or distracted. And i bet there are more?

Did any of these strike a nerve in you in terms of what you’ve experienced? Which is your absolute worst? Any you catch yourself doing or have had to work through? And are there any that i missed? 

communication quote