Next time you communicate, try this… switch heads for a minute.
Consider how often we receive a communication that confuses us. Or upsets us. Or angers us. Or bores us. Seems to happen more and more often these days as we’re pushed by demands, deadlines, technology. We’re under so much pressure to do things quickly, that we often don’t stop to consider how recipients may react to our text, article, newsletter, e-mail, Tweet, blog….
But by switching heads for a moment, you can visualize the other party’s perspective – and prevent confusion, misunderstandings, arguments, and all kinds of other nasty repercussions from hasty communication. Before you write it, say it or show it, ask:
- What am I trying to communicate?
- Who am I communicating with?
- What do I want him/her/them to do, understand or feel when they read/see/hear this?
Now switch heads and ask yourself: “if I was [recipient], how might I react when I receive this communication?”
This shifts your perspective from yourself to the other party. You are empathizing – imagining yourself “in another’s place and understand[ing] the other’s feelings, desires, ideas, and actions” (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
When it comes to communicating effectively and achieving your goals, empathy is the way there.