Do you take the time to wrap up a conversation wisely?

We all have filters and hear things differently.  So often, we leave a conversation believing something we said was heard, when in reality the other person had a very different take away. 

  • “No son, you may not take the keys to the car.”  
  • “But Dad, you said that on Christmas, not today.” 
  • “Please deliver the report to me by the end of the day.” 
  • “I heard you ask that of my partner. I had no idea you wanted that from me.”  

There is no more efficient and honest way to make sure you were heard, than to ask directly, “What did you hear me say?”  Either you were heard clearly or you will be remarkably surprised at how one form of communication got shifted into something quite different than what was intended. (If any of you have teens, I need not explain more.)  In business or at home, use this tool in one-on-one talks, small meetings or family dinners. 

3 Conversation Closing Tips (key: always with a tone of curiosity):

1. “Before we leave, would you mind telling me what you heard me say?” OR “Could we tell each other what we each heard the other person say?”

2. “Thanks for meeting. Before we wrap up, I would appreciate if you would (each) tell me the main theme you heard from me.”

3. “Thanks for your time. May I ask you one thing? What was the main thing you heard from me today?”

Often, words and meanings can be twisted and turned due to distraction, anxiety, fear, or even just a bad night’s sleep. Think of this closing process as a form of self care in addition to consideration of others. If we take responsibility for communicating clearly what we have to say, the relational frustration, stress and time that comes with miscommunication disappears!  

For a deeper dive into self-awareness, check out this article on filters.

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