How to Reframe Communication: It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time

CLICK TO LISTEN – Blog Narrated by Sacha Brant
Do you feel that sometimes, in the rush to be heard, you fail to listen? Heck I know I do. What I’ve learned is this – to truly communicate, we must tailor our message to those we are trying to reach. We need to be more aware of the other individuals’ ability to receive and comprehend. Without that, there’s no communication. This is the premise of our chat today – genuine communication. Like many other things, it all starts with you and your perception.

Let’s Talk Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

I wish I could remember where I got this analogy because it’s still one of my favorites. (Next to kicking the puppy that is….) I’m going to spin you a scenario, stay with me. You are a Space Delivery Individual. You’re taking Peanut Butter, Jelly and Bread on a mission of hope to bring food to a species of alien that is currently starving. When you land, you realize a couple of things: 1. They do not speak your language, not even a little. 2. They have never seen or heard of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches 3. Therefore, they have never made one. And you have to teach them. What is the first thing you do? Really think about it. In a scenario like this, you have to go beyond talking. Beyond assumptions and common knowledge. You have to assess your audience and concoct a way to get your point across and make it really stick, or these alien dudes are going to die. If you think you have the answer, comment below. I would LOVE to hear it.

No Words

Recently I watched an inspiring video where two choreographers from two different countries, cultures and languages needed to create a dance together. It’s going to help me highlight my point with shiny moving pictures.
In this situation, two people needed to share information. Not someone-talks-no-one-listens but a true exchange of information. Both shared a common goal, and both had points to express. No one voice was struggling to over power the other, no thought dwarfing its partner. No mix up of words and meanings because it’s all boiled down to a state of genuine communication. Two people connecting and successfully sharing and absorbing complex information. It’s gall darned beautiful.

How Do I Reframe Communication?

Now that you understand why it’s important, and what I mean by genuine communication, I can walk you through how I apply this in my daily life. Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills I need while running a business. I need to show and tell why we are the best and how we can help our clients. Where my team is concerned, I must make sure that they understand complex instructions and requirements for each job. Here’s how I do it: Step 1: Examine the message you are trying to get across Step 2: Try explaining the message in the way most comfortable for you. Step 3: Did you make the connection? Ask them to repeat back (in their own words) Step 4: Was the message they relayed back correct? If yes, you’re done. If no, continue to the next step. Step 5: Examine the method of information transfer. Were you clear and concise? Can it be explained a different way? How can you tighten up your message? (Remember those aliens!) Step 6: Attempt a second explanation, this time with a different message approach. Step 7: Was the message they relayed back correct? If yes, you’re done. If no, continue to the next step. Step 8: If after two verbal attempts at relaying your information, try to shift it up. Consider explaining your point with images or diagrams, miming and videos. Maybe the person in front of you learns differently than you’re used to. Step 9: Was the message they relayed back correct? If yes, you’re done. If no, continue to the next step. Step 10: Repeat steps 8-10 until you are successful. *NOTE: giving up before clearly conveying your information is not communication. Don’t get lazy here folks.*

Get Communicating

Really, it doesn’t even have to be as complicated as all this. Once you do this a few times, you’ll get used to trying to express yourself in various ways. I often try different analogies to explain something before I get more visual/physical but you’ll find your style.

As long as you reach the goal of UNDERSTANDING – you will achieve genuine communication. When you do that, you’re going to notice it’s a lot easier to get what you want. It’s also a lot less stressful. Take the onus off the other person to get YOU and put it on your ability to communicate.

PS: Make sure to sign up for our email list below too, and I’ll send you the rest of this series as they drop!)

PPS: In case you missed them, here are the previous pieces in this series!

How to Reframe…

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