There’s been a fair bit of communication breakdown in my life lately. First it was with members of my Circle, then it was with my phone and my computer. It even came up for one of my coaching clients this week.
I have an iPhone, and a PC. I recently received some training audios that I wanted to put on my phone so I could listen to them while I was doing other things, and not be stuck at my computer. I also wanted to get the latest videos off my phone to edit them. For whatever reason, my phone and my computer were not communicating with each other.
It was so frustrating! It should have been easy. Connect the phone to the computer, and tell them to sync. They would go through the motions, and in the end tell me there was a time out.
The problem in my Circle started with text. One person commented, and the other person received a completely different message. Just like the phone and the computer. One sent a message that was not fully received by the other.
It can be so challenging to read the intention behind the written word. It is too easy to read insult where none is intended. It is said that anywhere between 60-70% of the meaning we receive comes from non-verbal cues, the tone of voice and body language that goes with the words. When we are reading words on a page or a screen, the majority of the context of how we derive meaning is missing!
So what happens? We make it up. We imagine the person talking. We run the words through our firewall, our filters of experience. And if we have had negative experiences with that person, or even in general, the meaning we come up with often takes a negative tone. The firewall shuts it down, and we stop communicating.
Which is exactly what happened with my phone and my computer. To get them to communicate, I had to shut down the firewall, and voila! The transfer of information actually worked.
With the members in my Circle, it was a similar story. I met the two of them on neutral ground, and asked each one to share what was going on for them, without interpreting what they were receiving from the other person. In other words, without the firewall. Once they each had an opportunity to share, and really hear what the other person was saying, there was no more conflict.
Where in your life is your firewall shutting down real communication? And are you willing to take down your firewall to fix it?