Resilience is the ability to respond constructively to challenges, and to bounce back from setbacks.
Some people are naturally more resilient than others, and resiliency can be intentionally developed.
Effective Communication: Impact vs. Memory
“You weren’t listening to me!” “Yes I was! You said…” And they in fact repeat back exactly what we have just said. Familiar interaction? And yet, have you ever felt less than satisfied when that happens?
Why this lack of satisfaction? What has happened, or perhaps more accurately, what has not happened? They obviously did hear us, so what is still missing? What are we actually trying to do when we communicate?
Consider communication as messages that we are trying to convey to each other. When someone can repeat back exactly what we have said, they have been attending to us, they have engaged their auditory neurons – not bad. But have they actually received the message we were attempting to convey? I suggest that what we actually want, what gives us a sense our message has truly been conveyed and so the communication feels satisfying, is when our message has had an impact on our listener. Communicators want their message to leave an impression on the other person that is more than a memory trace in the other person’s brain. “Oh, now I get it, you DO want us to talk more, but NOT first thing in the morning. I can do that. Let’s do that.” or “Wow, now I understand how important this project is to you.” Or even, “Now I understand. No, I cannot make that time commitment. [Perhaps with] But what I could commit to is…”
Responsibility for messages being successfully conveyed rests on both speaker and listener, active participation on both sides. Speakers can clarify for themselves: “What is the essential message I wish to convey, what impact do I want to have by speaking? And how to accomplish this, with this particular person at this particular time?” Listeners can direct their intention toward listening for Impact vs. Memory. “What impact might this speaker want to have as a result of their communication with me?” Our intention strongly affects our focus and perception. For example, when viewers of a short film are asked to count the number of times a ball is thrown from person to person as the people in the film are weaving in and out, many people will literally not notice the person dressed as a gorilla entering and wandering among the ball-throwers. When our intention is toward absorbing the speaker’s words, we may completely miss the speaker’s message and desired impact.
Partners, business or marital, often have repetitive conversations that become increasingly frustrating. If we are listening for memory, we can likely “repeat” the words of our partner even before our partner has finished speaking. If we are listening for impact, we might offer: “You’re saying, again, that you don’t feel I am helping you enough. To me, we’ve spoken about this so many times. What do you think I haven’t heard yet? How do you want this conversation to be different?”
Being remembered is certainly better than being ignored. And, communication is more satisfying when both speaker and listener focus on desired impact. Carolyn S. Tal, PhD Psychologist and Consultant Working with individuals, couples, and business partners 052-825-8585, firstname.lastname@example.org www.talconsulting.com www.resiliencebytal.blogspot.com
Being remembered is certainly better than being ignored. And, communication is more satisfying when both speaker and listener focus on desired impact.
Carolyn S. Tal, PhD
Psychologist and Consultant
Working with individuals, couples, and business partners