"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw
Have you ever been in a conversation that just seemed to be going in circles? Or the person you’re talking to seems to be getting frustrated, acting like they’re not being heard?
Here’s a trick for you to try - it’s called summarizing and it goes something like this:
[...after they stop blathering away endlessly ] “”Ok - let me see if I’ve got you here... You stayed up all night eating Funyuns® and brownies, you watched a movie you didn’t really like until 1 am, you woke up tired and grumpy and you feel like you keep doing this over and over? Did I get that right?”
So you just try to repeat back and summarize what they’re on about - not with judgement or evaluation, not adding anything of your own. Just summarize what they’re saying.
Summarizing is very similar to Mirroring, which I talked about a couple issues back - but instead of reflecting back key words from a sentence, you do a full wrap-up of all the issues or ideas they've mentioned.
Because (and I’m quoting) “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” (That’s David Augsberger btw.)
You can - with no commitment or cost to yourself and with very little effort - give someone the experience of being loved. And there is nothing quite so disrupting to the drab, stuck, exasperated solitude of ineffective communication... as love.
Think about it - if you had a magic wand that could make people feel loved, wouldn't you be waving that thing around like a mad conductor? Do you think that would do us all some good about now?
Well, you DO have that wand. Make someone feel heard today - give ‘em a really good summary. See what happens!