My last posting ‘Improve understanding by irritating people’ prompted this response from my friend Tony.
“I’ve followed your advice at work and colleagues have said I’ve become an expert in irritating people but they didn’t mention anything about their improved levels of self-understanding as a result. Do I need to be even more irritating?”
This caused me to question whether resurrecting My Minute Mentor was possibly a bad idea but to be fair to Tony he had raised a good point. It’s all very well talking in ambiguous terms about communicating with others but how the hell do we actually do it? Tony was clearly sharper than I had initially given him credit for.
After much deliberation, I replied as follows,
“Well done on mastering the irritating bit. It’s now time to work on a new skill of just listening. And by listening, I mean really taking care to notice the different words people use, the way they use them and start to notice their patterns of behaviour. Develop a sharper eye for the cues in their body language especially when they show signs of approval or disapproval towards what’s being said. Start to build up a library of information for each person and see whether you can start to predict how they’ll react in certain circumstances. Once you can do this, experiment by adapting your style of communication for each person and see what happens.”
I sat back, glowing in the satisfaction of a job well done until Tony followed up as follows,
“Thanks for the advice. However, trying to fathom what on earth you were going on about made me experience a new level of irritation far beyond my own so I’m sticking with my original plan. I’ll keep you posted.”
I’m hoping Tony has an early spring holiday planned.