You are not that smart.
Actually, I believe most of us are smarter than we give ourselves credit for*. However there’s one area where we are not that smart–knowing what others are thinking and seeking. Yet many of us assume all the time.
One of the main areas where I assume this is when I am in a hurry to finish a conversation so the work can begin. I realized this writing the blog post on Making Time for Communication. I also saw that when I gloss over communication it’s because I believe that my knowing the answer(s) without asking is a quick path to moving ahead.
I do this especially when I am trying to help others, or get work done together. How ironic is that?
I think I started this practice as work so I would be perceived as knowledgable and accomplished. Then it spilled over into my personal life too.
Here are a few practices I find useful as I let go of this habit:
- Reminding myself that the other person truly wants a meaningful conversation too (most of the time), so it’s really okay with everyone to make the time.
- Ask questions rather than make statements. Make the questions open ended. Here’s an example, ask “When would you like this report submitted?” in place of “Is this report due on Monday?”
- Having the courage to go back to a topic or admit that I rushed things. When I first did this I just assumed I would have to overcome the other person’s objections to continuing the discussion–but that has yet to happen.
- Getting past my fear that an open ended question might lead to a request I am not prepared or want to deliver.
What do you think? Is my sense of irony overblown here? What practices do you use to leave assumption behind and ensure a full discussion?
My best wishes for an amazing day, and week! See you next Wednesday.
*More on this topic in the future!