Ever wonder why sometimes the other person on the other end of an email, phone, or conference room doesn’t understand what you say? Try this activity out and reflect on your experience!
One of the neatest exercises I’ve done was write a procedure for drawing one of the world’s famous cats, Garfield. (Yes, I am aware that Hello Kitty is another famous cat). We were given a picture of the feline and told to write instructions for about ten minutes. Then we passed that sheet to our neighbor and asked them to draw Garfield based on those instructions–literally.
Reading someone else’s instructions is an interpretation of what they see that you should understand and perform. Sometimes those instructions are vague and not clear. Whatever the case, the task was to draw the cat the way you read their instructions.
My drawing was ugly, but smug. I took the instructions literally and came up with what I thought Garfield was supposed to look like.
The purpose of the exercise was to understand that we need to communicate in a clear and concise way that can lead others to understand us. Also this exercise gave us the opportunity to see how other people interpret our instructions. We can see difficulty communicating our thoughts easily and how those thoughts can be hard for someone else to understand.
Mind blowing? Yes! Not everyone understands the way you think and you can’t assume they can figure out what you say.
Thoughts to Consider
Think about it the next time that you communicate, are you:
- communicating clearly?
- writing concisely?
- understanding where others stand?
- making sense?