QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
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How to be Heard, Understood, & Trusted
If there is one thing that is universal, it is the desire to be heard, understood, and trusted when communicating with others. This is why, when what we are saying isn’t being received well by others, we can become resentful, defensive, and more insistent. Or, we just give up and give in… neither of which is particularly effective, because when we become more insistent, have you noticed that they become more resistant, and we are often caught in ever escalating cycle of conflict. If we just give up, we feel resentful and maybe even angry, which begins to color the relationship in a way that creates more problems in the future.
For those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know that this tendency to go to either fight (more insistent) or flight (give up and give in) comes from the fight-or-flight part of the brain (the brainstem). Given that we don’t want to get in an argument (fight) or give up, I suggest we first ensure that we are coming from the clear, confident, creative part of the brain (the neocortex, what I call the “Top of the Mind.”)
One way of doing this is to become clear about our goal and use that clarity to make more purposeful decisions about how we communicate. In other words, if our desire is for them to truly understand what we are saying, we need to ensure that we are “speaking their language.” For example, let’s assume that you are in a foreign country and you want to be heard and understood by the person or persons to whom you are speaking. If you had an internal app that would allow you to speak their language, you would do that in a heartbeat!
The same holds true with people, in general. We have to “know their language” or truly understand what is important to them if we truly want them to hear and understand what is important to us. That’s why the quote from Stephen Covey, “Seek first to understand, and then be understood” is so widely acknowledged as critical to effective communication.
Next, we have to be able to determine how their goals and our goals can combine to create some common ground going forward. In other words, what would motivate them to hear what we have to say as valuable, and how can we combine what is important to both of us to create a solution-focused conversation about the future?
I do believe it must be about the future versus the past, however, because when we get in a discussion about what happened in the past and who was at fault, it often just becomes a “who’s right” debate where little to nothing is accomplished.
So, now we know what might get in the way of us being heard and understood… we might be in the reactive brain versus the clear, confident, and creative brain, and just “saying what we think,” versus taking into account how they are hearing it, and we may be debating the past versus talking about the future.
On the other hand, if we are willing to go into a conversation and engage others in a way that inspires trust, we will be enhancing the potential that we will be perceived as “trust worthy,” which will of course, will enhance the potential that we will be heard and understood… which will be critical to our success in all aspects of life.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill