We live in a world of 7.125 billion people, that speak roughly 6500 different languages. 1500 million of those 7 billion speak English, but only 375 million of those 1500 are native english speakers. Consider that for a moment. 1500 million, but only 375 are native english speakers and if we were just to take the 375 million native speakers, how many of those struggle to communicate effectively?
Words have depth, meaning and can convey an array of ideas, in any language. However, communication is not always in the words we say, but in the way we say them. There is great power in the tongue and it can either clarify or confuse. How often can you find yourself in a situation gone awry that came from the root of miscommunication? As an example, I went to Home depot to grab a paint pan, a quick trip. I grabbed the pan and went to get in the self checkout line. As I got behind the last person in line, I waited, and about 30 seconds later a man came up to my side, saying ‘we’re in line.’ At this point, perhaps most people would have understood that I just accidentally cut in line. But it wasn’t his words that confused me, it was the way he said it. He came to my side with his cart, the store was busy with lots of customers, in my mind I reasoned that when we said ‘we’re in line’ he was letting me know that he was going to be standing to my side so as not to block the busy aisle. I proceeded to say ‘ok’ and return to watching the line. I had been looking to my left and a moment later when I turned to my right, I had an elbow in my face, the man I had spoke to seconds ago had inserted himself in front of me and put his arm out to force me back. Obviously I had misunderstood and he assumed I was a jerk.
Scenarios like this can happen all the time, but rather than assume the worst of our fellow friends perhaps we should consider not necessarily only our words, but the way we say them.
Need help with your communication? Check out Life Languages, an effective communication profile that not only tells you how you like to communicate, but how you can easily and effectively communicate with others.