Do People Understand What You Say?
I recently made a new commitment to myself… TO DRINK MORE WATER!
While I was in Florida, I decided to start my new water-drinking regime: a cup of hot water with lemon upon waking up, 2-3 cups of water at lunch, a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon and 2-3 cups of water with dinner.
Great for my skin and for my digestion! Unfortunately, my bladder isn’t as excited as I am about this plan.
One day, after a lovely lunch out with my husband, Allan, my water intake got the best of me and I desperately needed to use the facilities. We parked the car in the underground parking of our condo and rushed inside.
I didn’t think I would make it to the condo. I saw a maintenance worker in the lobby and asked her if there was a washroom there. She nodded her head Yes and took me to a private room – one that I presumed was only used by the workers in the building. I was so grateful! But as she pulled out her keys and unlocked the door, I stepped in only to discover a laundry machine!
Oh no! I didn’t need a WASH-room! I needed a bathroom! So I made a sitting gesture indicating that I really needed to pee.
“I understand now,” she said as she took me down the hall to a door marked “Women.”
Phew – that was a close call!
In Canada, we say “washroom.” In the U.S., we say “bathroom” or “restroom.”
We often believe that others should automatically understand us because we think we are being completely clear. When our employees and colleagues misunderstand us and make mistakes, we feel frustrated and aggravated. We forget that they didn’t make the mistake on purpose, that their goal is to help us and that we may have been unclear in the first place.
If I had gotten upset when the maintenance worker brought me to a laundry room instead of a restroom, I wouldn’t have made it there. Instead, I recognized my mistake and rephrased where I wanted to go.
Here’s a little experiment for you. Next time someone makes an error, assume positive intent. Take a moment to think about how they may be receiving your message. Their interpretation may be very different from what you meant.
Do you find yourself constantly frustrated that people don’t seem to understand you? We’d love to teach you ways to ease your frustration!
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