Recently I’d been thinking hard about what it means to be a good communicator.
Have you ever looked at a particular situation, and then really stood back in shock and wondered–
“Why has this gone so wrong? Everyone started with the best of intentions.”
I guess what I’d realised recently is that there is a gap between intention and action, and we should not always assume that good intention is always conveyed into actions that are necessarily interpreted as positive.
Let’s think about the intentions behind three of the most common issues that affect most of us: Wedding, house and kid.
- Is there anyone who starts a wedding preparation process wanting it to fail?
- Is there anyone who builds a house wanting its inhabitants to suffer?
- Is there any mother who gives birth wanting the worst for her kid?
Is it not true that bad outcomes result because along the way, people–
(A) Lose sight of their original good intentions?
(B) Talk (or for that matter, do not talk) in a way that causes their good intentions to be misconstrued?
(C) For whatever reason, be paralysed by emotions (fear, pride, denial) and start doing irrational, crazy actions?
I believe people always start with good intentions, but may have competing interests. In such cases things might get complicated because they have different alteregos to represent themselves. But surely interests can be identified early and parties alerted.
I–for one–had used to think that the study of communication is quite frivolous. For, talk is cheap and action speaks wayyyy louder than words.
But then, if you think about it, communication can be quite challenging, especially from the moment one starts to doubt another’s intentions. Conflict of interests only serves to compound that seed of doubt.
So perhaps, the next question is to ask ourselves how to avoid scenarios of conflict of interests.
- Is it possible to align interests–highlight common grounds instead of promote an “US versus THEM” mentality?
- Is it possible to provide scripts such that people can effectively translate their intention/hearts into proper words? So instead of fighting over a stupid cake/dress, it becomes an articulation of “I am really hurt by your words because I think you showed disrespect?”
I think most of the time when people fight, it is never over silly little material stuffs. There is always a backstory and history to it.
So I’m now thinking of scripts–
- Now, if only if we have scripts made readily available for people to convey their hearts. For the not-so-articulate to frame their good intentions into words.
- If only if we have scripts available for easy references, to discipline thoughts and showcase possibilities.
- If only if we have these scripts to bridge distances at will, and yet to provide a form of safety.
Could scripts be a concrete way of resolving conflicts?
Instead of saying vague stuffs all the time like “Oh you should be more forgiving”, why not show a practical script of how on earth one can be forgiving, and yet not sound like a pushover? For instance.