A few weeks ago I listened to a presentation about the different types of way we take in and process information. In the past I have read several books on similar topics, but this particular information was new to me but made oh so much sense.
I recognised instantly that I was what one terms a “global thinker/communicator”. That is, I only like to take in high level pertinent information and do not like to get bogged down in the minute details. On the other side of the spectrum are of course the detailed thinkers, who for them, it’s all about the smallest details.
In the presentation, the speaker highlighted the importance of our ability to first recognise our own communication style and then recognise others we are dealing with. Once identified, we can then adjust our communication style to greater enhance our ability to communicate with someone who may not be the same as us. In this particular case, it was how to apply it to our customers.
What I didn’t think to do was apply it to my home life.
Last night, my eldest son and I once again had a blow up about him not listening, resulting in me disconnecting the WIFI from the wall. This scene was a oh so familiar (usually without the extreme measures of disconnecting the WIFI). I’m always perplexed how my youngest and I rarely have this mis-communication issue, but with my eldest, it seems to be a weekly occurrence.
It wasn’t until he came into me about half an hour later (after sulking in his room) and asked if we could have a chat, that another light bulb moment would highlight where we had been going wrong all these years.
Wyatt’s first words to me were, “Mum do you think when you’re asking me to do something you could be a bit more specific and give me more details”. Suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had completely been misreading my son’s ability to understand the instructions I was giving him.
I’ll give you an example here, in case you’re not following. Our blow up was over the fact that he was playing on his iPad after I had told him to stop playing on the iPad.
Our conversation went a little something like this:
Me: “Wyatt, what are you still doing playing on the iPad?”
Wyatt: “I’m not playing Mum, I’m just looking for something”
Me: “I don’t care Wyatt, get off now”
Wyatt: “But Mum, I’m not playing, I’m just looking”.
After this I walked behind him and saw he was in a game called Terraria and that’s when I lost it and walked over and pulled the WIFI connection out of the wall.
Later on, in our little chat, Wyatt brought it to my attention that in his eyes, he wasn’t ‘technically’ playing, so he didn’t understand why he was getting in trouble. We’ve had this argument before when I’ve told them no Xbox and then half hour later, I catch him in a game collecting daily rewards.
You see, in my eyes, when I give an instruction like “No Xbox” I’m talking about all things encompassing that can be played or done on the Xbox because I am a global thinker. When my son hears “No Xbox” he thinks I only mean physically playing a game on the Xbox because he is a detailed thinker.
I now understand that if I don’t want him to do anything on the Xbox, I have to list out ALL of the potential things he could do on the Xbox eg. Playing a game, watching YouTube, Netflix etc.
This got me thinking, how many times do we have a blow up with a friend, colleague, partner, family member etc. over a mis-communication issue. At the time, we of course always think we are in the right and the other person is in the wrong. But how many of these issues could be resolved if we just understood that the other person just truly did not fully understand the point we were trying to make because they process information different to us.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to read my other blogs, click here for my general blog or here to read my personal blog “Sh*t they don’t tell you when you get divorced”.
Love and Gratitude