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February 21, 2019

Own Misunderstandings

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Let's talk about owning our misunderstandings, and what I mean by that, is when something is not communicated correctly, or not completely understood, to take responsibility for the error. An example that illustrates this case is to say, “Did I explain that clearly?”, instead of “Do you understand?”.

Your conversational partner is much more likely to remain confident and open in the conversation because they don’t feel like they are the one at fault, and therefore do not need to protect themselves with their behavior. Also,it helps your conversational partner to be more honest with you, and provide more valuable feedback, because they don’t feel like their intelligence or capabilities will be put into question with another mistake.  

It takes some practice to get into the habit of making this switch, and it is much more natural to speak in a non-filtered way. But, knowing some of those phrases ahead of time will help them arrive more easily.  So, a few expressions, when summarizing, say something like “did I get that correct?” rather than “Do you agree?”. Or, when referencing something, say “As I recall” instead of “as you mentioned”.

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