How many times have you said something, or written something, only to have it misinterpreted by somebody? There are a number of reasons why this happens and one of those reasons is because certain words can ‘trigger’ people.
‘A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.’
Example 1 If someone has a phobia of spiders, the word spider can bring about anxiety.
Example 2 If someone has a fear of taking responsibility, any time the word ‘responsibility’ is used it can create uncomfortable feelings in that person and they may become defensive.
If you have something to say that is of a sensitive nature, I recommend doing it in person. It’s easy to write an email, but no matter how many times you read it over and over to your satisfaction, once you’ve pressed the send button, the damage could be done!
Always, where possible, have a conversation face to face, or on the phone. That way, you can gauge the other person’s reaction and more easily create a win/win situation.
If you think that the other person may not have understood what you’ve said you can ask them something like, ‘what did you hear when I said that?’ It’s always good to get clarification.
If you have negative feedback for someone, practice giving them some positive feedback first.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Imagine how it would be if someone else said that to you.
The important thing to do is to practice speaking from your heart, having regard for how your words will land with someone else. It’s not about protecting other people but about always looking to keep ‘connection’ with the other person. In order to connect with another, we need to connect with ourselves first.
Ask yourself, what is it I want out of this conversation? What is my intention? How can I create a win/win?
Relax, even if the first conversation doesn’t go very well, you can arrange to have another conversation.
Best to speak up rather than ‘stew’ over things. Speak sooner rather than later. Get the conversation out of your head.
Remember we all interpret things differently…. and that’s okay!
Have you ever misinterpreted something? Do leave a comment.