Patience, and Her Role in Communication

Patience, and Her Role in Communication

The decrease in patience is a casualty of the pandemic. The trip from calm to critical is a quick one, and immediate gratification is a high priority in most ventures.  Communication exchanges reflect these tendencies, as folks expect resolution to happen right away, with as little investment as possible.

For some people, a communication exchange is always short and snappy: (I need the info; you have it. Done.) They aren’t comfortable with exchanges in which one person’s contribution leads into, invites, and depends on the thoughts of the other person: (Do you think we should do this; maybe this and what if that. Discussion) and they are especially not comfortable if the exchange involves a lack of understanding: (Do you think we should do this; I thought you said; not in this case; why don’t you.  Escalation)

In reality, communication above the ‘gimme that’ level usually requires a few backs and forths before resolution, but many of us have been conditioned to believe that if more than 2 or 3 rounds are required it means that someone is wrong, obstinate, stupid, or hostile and definitely not worth sticking with. In the patience-deprived pandemic, this belief has become toxic.  After a round or two we hear some version of ‘never mind’ – at best.

Good communication requires us to ask for clarification, share our perceptions, identify the words or tone or facial expression that influenced our thinking, reword our offerings, listen to responses, adjust our presentation in light of what we see and hear, and be willing to say some version of ‘let’s think about this’.  And all of that requires patience.

As an experiment, test your communication patience:  how many rounds are you willing to go in the interest of understanding? What strategies do you use to encourage the listener to stick with you?

Want help?  Give us a call.  We’re very patient.

Visit our website to learn more about how our courses and services could improve your operations — www.languageatwork.com. If it’s easier, call me directly at 202-298-7700.

Thanks!
Judy

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