Last night, I walked into my local Starbucks and ordered a “Tai Chi Latte.”
“Coming right up!” the young man behind the counter said, hiding a smirk.
I stopped digging for my debit card and stared into space for a moment. “Wait. That’s not right. Make that a CHAI TEA latte!” I rolled my eyes at my own faux pas.
“I wasn’t going to say anything,” the guy laughed...while the other young man behind the counter struck a Tai Chi pose and said in a Mr. Miagi voice, “Ah, Tai Chi!”
I guess they knew what I meant, even though I didn’t make myself clear.
It made me think of of how often people (mostly my family members) don’t “get” what I mean because I might not communicate clearly from the beginning.
For example, when I say “go clean your room” to the kids, they actually hear “go play with all the toys on the floor until Mom forgets what she told you.”
When I say, “I’m tired,” to my husband, he actually hears “You might get lucky tonight.” Huh?
If I tell my son to wash the dishes, he hears “go ahead and leave the pots and pans for Mom to clean later.”
But I’ve found that when I state things clearly and kindly, people actually understand and respond better than when I leave things open to interpretation.
With small children, it’s best to give only one or two simple directions at a time. Actually, that might work for husbands, too, now that I think about it. But everyone loves to know exactly what is expected of them so there aren’t arguments later over what I didn’t say from the beginning.
Today’s Small Thing is to make yourself clear. Your husband cannot read your mind and would probably appreciate plain English if you tell him what you need. Your kids would like to know from the get-go what the consequences for bickering are, rather than suffering from your explosion later. Saying “no” to another committee request is nice and clear. Co-workers, family members, friends....communicating clearly (and kindly) is so much better than leaving them hanging.
Unless you leave them hanging in a Tai Chi pose.
POINTS: 30 for one consciously clear communication.
How will you make yourself clear today? We'd love to hear what happens!