Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mixed Messages

Check out the following story recently emailed to me:

One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read: "I am blind, please help."

A creative publicist was walking by and stopped to observe. He saw that the blind man had only a few coins in his hat. He dropped in more coins and, without asking for permission, took the sign and rewrote it. He returned the sign to the blind man and left. That afternoon the publicist returned to the blind man and noticed that his hat was full of bills and coins.

The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked if it was he who had rewritten his sign and wanted to know what he had written on it. The publicist responded, "Nothing that was not true. I just wrote the message a little differently." He smiled and went on his way, knowing that now the sign read, "Today is Spring and I cannot see it."

This story reminds me that, often, our needs are not met because we’re not communicating them effectively. This is especially true when it comes to our close relationships. Is there someone important in your life who, you feel, consistently ignores your needs and feelings? Maybe it’s time to take a hard look at the way you are expressing yourself.

One classic conflict resolution model is the I-Statement. It goes something like this: "When you _________, I feel __________, because __________, so what I would like is __________________." For example, if your spouse keeps leaving dirty clothes on the floor…instead of yelling or nagging, try this: When you leave your dirty clothes on the floor, I feel taken advantage of, because I work hard to keep the house clean all week. So, what I would like is for you to use the hamper instead of the floor from now on.

It may seem simple, but it really works! Just by changing your tone and your words the same message may be heard in a whole new way.

No comments: