If you are reading this blog, one of your main goals, professionally or personally, is likely to become a better communicator – to communicate more clearly with other people.
Understanding other people and effectively communicating with them gives us a lot of power. When we truly “get” another person, we can tailor our message to them in a way that will make them want to cooperate with us.
For example, I stand a much better chance of getting someone to buy something from me if I am able to understand their needs and to present my product as something that would answer those needs.
But to truly understand other people’s needs, I must be able to put my own assumptions aside and really listen to them.
In fact, for many of us, the main motivation behind learning how to deal with difficult people and improving our communication skills is not that we necessarily want to become “better” persons (although often we do want that, of course) – it’s that we know it will make our lives easier and help us achieve our own goals.
A very important life lesson to learn is that “It’s All About Me.” Without meaning to, or intending to, we make all of our choices based on how they are going to affect us. Before attempting to become better communicators, we need to realize that in our interactions with other people, we never truly listen – unless we are aware of this issue and make a conscious effort.
In order to truly hear the other person and understand them, we need to be aware of our “filter,” which represents our own perspective, our personal experiences and our values, and remove it. The goal when dealing with difficult people, and in fact in any communication, is to take “me” out of the picture entirely while I’m interacting with the other person. If I don’t do that, clear communication is simply impossible, because whenever communication goes through my “filter,” it’s not clear anymore. I need to be able to focus entirely on the other person.
When attempting effective communication, we have to learn the art of stepping outside ourselves and really concentrating on what the other person is saying. We need to focus, listen, and drop our filters. If we do this, we will often realize that those “difficult people” are not that difficult after all – they are simply different.