woman sitting on yellow armless chair near gray laptop computer

The Reward of being Understood

A poor blind boy sat on a building’s steps with a hat by his feet to receive donations from strangers passing by. He held up a placard which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins tossed into his hat.
A gentleman walking by took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the blind boy’s hat. He then stooped down, took the placard, turned it around, and wrote some different words on the other side. He put the sign back to its place so that everyone who walked by would see it.
Soon the hat began to fill up with coins. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon, the man who had changed the placard’s words came back to see how things were going. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Are you him who made changes to my sign this morning? What did you write? “
The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but differently.” I wrote:
“This world around you is so beautiful. You can see it, but I can’t.” (This story comes from speakingtree.in)
Communication is what makes the world go around. How true this is of our family life, our community life, and our business life. It is how we communicate and say things that truly make all the difference in how they affect the person listening.
Let’s consider three universal principles of communication:

  1. What someone is saying is not necessarily what the other person is hearing.
    When a person says something, they know what they mean; but often, if the person listening seems not to understand, the speaker somehow sees it as the other person’s fault for not understanding. The person listening to the speaker could be receiving a message that is quite different from what the other person is saying. What they are hearing is being filtered through their thoughts, feelings, and life experiences. The person speaking is also filtering what they are saying through their thinking, feeling, and experiences. There is much room for misunderstanding between what a speaker intends to say, thinks they are saying, and genuinely communicates. The determining factor is how the listener interprets what they are hearing. The more distracted the listener is when hearing the message, the more likely there will be a poor connection between the listener and the speaker. What is said is not always what a person hears.
  2. People are always communicating, even if they are not speaking words.
    The speaker’s actions, facial expressions, and body language are significant contributors to how what is said to the listener is heard and received. We are always communicating with the integration of sight and sound to others. Whether intentional or unintentional, we talk integrated messages all the time. All of us, have at one time, have been ignored by someone on purpose. The deliberate silent treatment sent a clear message to us. There are many non-verbal communication forms, such as the volume and tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Have you ever experienced someone communicating with you very effectively, using just their eyes alone?
  3. People usually rely on non-verbal cues more than verbal cues.
    Often there is a misunderstanding between verbal and non-verbal messages. The one listening will trust “how” something is said, rather than “what” the person said. If what the speaker says does not line up with their voice tone, body language, or facial expressions, they will believe the verbal message’s non-verbal behavior. For instance, a person can compliment someone on how they look or compliment what they are wearing. Still, if they say it in a sarcastic tone while looking away when saying it, the listener will perceive the message as insincere and interpret the real meaning as untruthful. All that was said non-verbally tipped the scales for them over the actual words verbalized.
    These 8 Steps below on Effective Business Communication from middlemarketcenter.org agree with all the above. Here is an abridged version:

Eliminate assumptions. Assumptions often cause misunderstandings, which can escalate into troublesome situations. Don’t assume that what happened before is what will always happen.
Find the right place and time for all involved to talk. Communication won’t work when one party is distracted. Find a quiet location in the office and, if the transmission is problematic, make sure you have privacy.
To be heard, listen first. You never want to begin by imposing a solution. If there’s a problem, describe it and how it is impacting your business. Then, ask openly, “What can we do to resolve this situation?” Stop and listen.
Ask questions. Questions are beautiful tools. If you’re not sure about a detail, ask for confirmation. If you want to hear feedback from the other person, ask. When you combine listening with asking relevant questions, you’ve opened up assertive two-way business communication.
Expressing emotion is important but always be respectful. The feeling is part of that business communication, but it shouldn’t be the end of it.
Pay attention to nonverbal messages. Be careful about your tone of voice, too. If nonverbal messages are overwhelming the conversation, it might be better to wait until things settle.
Recognize and reinforce positive behaviors. Effective communication is a constant activity, and you should thank the other person for accommodating you. It’s a win-win, and it will keep the channels of communication open.
Be patient and don’t expect miracles. Communication is so important — and so hard. It doesn’t eliminate differences, but it does allow for them.

The story of the blind boy’s rewritten placard teaches us that “how” we say what we say can open or close hearts, change the outcome from failure to success, and cause other people to engage with us who otherwise would slight us.
It is hard to disagree with the truth that it is much more important “how we say” something rather than “what we say.” As the man said to the boy: “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but differently”, and that made all the difference!
Take these basic principles for a test drive! Be mindful of your words, facial expressions, eye contact, tone, and body language. Unify them with intentionality whenever possible and experience the sense of well-being and acceptance as your reward!

About the author

Jeff is a Compumatrix member and contributor who truly enjoys researching and learning about all things crypto. He believes that digital assets are the future of money.

Comments

  1. Thank you Jeff, excellent blog, I draw some important tips on better communication. One of the issues I noticed many times is that people “assume” things especially when things are not explained clearly. The importance not to be shy and ask questions or for clarification when conversation gets repetitive or confusing, such as: “What do you mean by that”? I also fine people rude when they interrupt or talk over when you haven’t finished making your point. Avoiding conversation when the topic is too hot and becoming emotional is very important in my book.

    1. Jeff this is a great blog full of useful information. I have reviewed it several times because it had several layers of tips. One of my observations is that based on your learning style, you will understand the information better in different formats. Some people learn by listening, watching or doing. If my manager is telling me to complete a specific business analysis, her best bet is to send an example of a previous analysis. I’m a visual learner. I communicate with my hands and I like to see examples to have a better idea of what people expect of me.

  2. Oh, how I wish this sort of thing was a mandatory course taught in all schools! This is such a huge issue in our world right now – even in a personal social circle, absolutely clearcut communication, where all are heard and understood, is a rarity! I guess with close to 8 billion of us on this planet, and hundreds of languages, it stands to reason that there would be challenges with communication. But if we were to treat this as earnestly in our personal lives as we do in business, I think the world would be a happier place!

  3. In any relationship, good communication is the key, so many of them die because of lack of it, businesses fail because of it. I used to watch a program called “Restaurant Impossible”, there were other problems, but the underlying problem was always lack of communication; once expert laid the solution and the owners agreed upon the way they would communicate and handle the business part, all went well. The worst situations are when marriages, families and friends suffer from it and miscommunication end up in resentment, anger and finally a breakup.

  4. Great Blog Jeff. In the corporate world, every company has someone that is Public relations director. That way the correct information is given out to the public in the best way that is most effective to reach the companies customer base. The advertising dept uses this also to get the best results for the dollars spent. Think of the price for a Super Bowl ad. These ads are sometimes very simple, but the results can earn them millions. It shows your words can have a great effect on the outcome.

  5. I liked this article because it shows me how sometimes I need to just sit back and listen to what people are saying. Sometimes we discredit people are do not give them the time of day because we really just do not understand what they are saying. This is why it is important to always deeply listen and understand what people are saying.

  6. Great article Jeffery. It reminds me of all that I seem to have forgotten and much too often. I printed it and will re-read it every time I think I misspoke. Sometimes it’s the little things that bring us back to reality.
    All my years in sales were somewhat rote in the sense that I knew the next line I was going to use without even thinking about it. Nice to be able to use it including in everyday activities. Appreciate your time and effort.

  7. Communication is an art in itself.
    What, when, where and how we say – is very important.
    People are very perceptive and react spontaneously to words and gestures. If we want to get to know someone well we must use empathy.
    When we do it right, we break the ice. The dialogue flows naturally. Mutual understanding is created and we are rewarded with a long-lasting relationship.

  8. Great blog and yes it is so important to learn those skills. Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. Also your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice all color the message you are trying to convey. …
    Communication skills are needed to speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor your language to your audience, listen effectively, present your ideas appropriately, write clearly and concisely, and work well in a group.

  9. Great article Jeff. Your article is showing your great communication skills.There is a lot to learn from your article,to improve our communication skills. Words are a mirror of our personality,like first weigh then speak. We need to be good at communication so that others can accept it.It is important to be patient before you hear someone say something wrong. Excellent communication skills play a vital role in maintaining day-to-day business relationships.Listening is one of the most important aspects of communication. Thank you for sharing a very teachable article.

  10. Well said Jeff.Communication is the main source of one’s true feelings and emotions to expose himself in words,what he or she feels and wants to say.In today’s fast growing world of technology,we need to be more careful and think about what we need to say which relates to our true feelings and emotions and make is easy for the listener to understand what we really want to say and pass over our emotions like in the example given in the Blog.

  11. Jeff, I’m going through your blog again, and it reminds me of the great wise king, who lived on earth, the only thing he wanted was to be wise, to rule, to advise, and make the right judgment of the people, the evidence in place declares his splendor and how good he was with words that attracted so many around him and with great results too. Yes with good communication a lot can be achieved and be admired. This is awesome blog.

  12. Lovely blog Jeff, Your post reminded me of when my two sons were small and went to their ‘first’ school (a primary school) and I was in the playground having walked them to their school in the morning when the headmistress stopped to speak to me. Four young children came running past us laughing and shouting, and the headmistress turned to them and said in a quiet low voice, “Children, walk and speak quietly please” immediately they responded. She turned to me and said, “if you speak quietly, they have to really listen to what you are saying”. It was a great lesson in the art of communication.

  13. what a sensational blog posting JP — as we learn the business of doing business and as we further each moment of our own individual life — the communication we establish is what will be remembered and that communication is How we communicated Not the communication — life biz so unique and Yet so much the Same —

  14. This is such a lovely story. I remember hearing it ‘differently’….this time it was a woman who walked past the blind man. She was a copywriter on her way to work. She stopped and took his board and wrote “It is Spring…and I am blind!” I remember that story and particularly what she wrote, giving me goosebumps!

  15. Precious things Jeffrey! I remember what the Bible said about God’s chosen man to lead His people out of Egypt, but Moses said I am poor with words, and yet there was man eloquent and given to words, his brother, and so God did lead His people (millions) and animals out of Egypt.
    But, even more to the point you gave us 7 steps to be better at communicating with others and if we apply these slowly and methodically then we too can communicate easily and efficiently.
    Thanks Jeff for the article, and we look forward to many more!

  16. Jeff congratulations on the excellent article! Communication is one of the most powerful tools in human relationships. Not only what we say, but how we speak it is very important for the listener’s interpretation. We need to be very careful, always!

  17. Thank you for the awareness of how to communicate from the heart. I love the story about the blind man and the young boy as it shows a different perspective. That is why we have relationships to learn new perspectives-good and bad from others. It would be terribly boring if we were all exactly the same. My intention today is to listen from the heart and to be open to new perspectives.

  18. I work with different population groups who speak different languages. What your blog explains is a constant challenge in our daily work situation. In our over sensitive world today, it has become even more of a challenge. Sure keeps you on your toes to keep effective work standards and good communications.

  19. Working with my husband has often give me the advantage of a third ear to conversations and instructions. He would sometimes give an instruction that would be in such a way that it confuses the the team. Hearing what was said, I could tell it was not clear. I would then be able to tell him the team needs clearer understanding. Being clearly understood is an art.

  20. Fantastic read Jeffrey! This article brings to life the principles of Compumatrx; Engage, Enrich, and Enhance. Our membership can not help but evolve reading blogs like this one. Communication is a vital component of life. This blogging sector forces our membership to engage in a way not seen in a traditional business setting and I feel Compumatrix will lead the way in human evolution because of it. Being understood creates a respectful environment that allows any relationship to thrive.

  21. What a wonderful advantage you have there Audrey of being able to be there and doing that. It’s wonderful that you are there to give him all of that great feedback. Otherwise, the team might just keep things to themselves and never speak up about something that’s unclear. I am sure that your husband appreciates At least I sure hope he does.

  22. Vee, I love your version of the story that says “It is Spring…and I am blind!” How precious and heart warming is that. Sometimes I think it would even be a good idea for some of us to actually go around blindfolded for a whole day. Wow, how much compassion would we have for someone like that. Truly would be putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

  23. Thanks for the input Samuel. Did your mother name you after the Biblical prophet ? I guess Moses really tried to weasel his way out of God using him in such a powerful way. It’s interesting that Moses had been brought up in the best education of Egypt and still felt he had an issue with his speech. But in the end, God proved that action is louder than words huh ?!

  24. Thank you Jeff for the great blog,communication is key. I kept wondering what did he write and then when I finished the blog I was just so happy. I didn’t even think of that and the way he worded it, changed the little boys day. Hopefully his life. When you think out side the box and try to think of walking in their shoes a day, it does make you think. I am so grateful to be here and have something to look forward too.

  25. This blog article is excellent, Jeffrey! I am constantly reminding myself when I’m explaining things that I need to check in with my listeners to make sure that they are “receiving what I am sending.” Just because you’re talking doesn’t mean you are being understood, or even being heard at all.

    1. Thank you Kevin for pointing out the reply button to me. Just like not hearing something when someone communicates to me, I didn’t even notice that button even though I have looked at these pages for months now. I will certainly use it in the future. Thanks for all your input into these blogs too. I love reading the responses.

  26. Wonderful points, Jeff. Communication is so important in our lives and can make such a difference in how we present ourselves to others. Thus your tips are invaluable. One of our biggest mistakes, I believe, is that we “assume” people do or will understand what we are saying or have written, and of course, we all probably know what the word “assume” does to us. Be respectful and always listen first. We all probably know someone that is just waiting for us to finish speaking so they can say what they want to – they don’t really take in anything we are saying while they are waiting, likely just thinking, “Hurry Up and Finish” 🙂

    1. Yes, Janis. I agree that there are often those who are just waiting to share something and not even listen to what is being said. I must confess that I have been guilty of that from time to time. I often get so excited about what is being said that it stokes a memory or something recent in my mind, and I can’t let it go. Communication takes real discipline.

  27. I always try to be positive when communicating—very good points in your blog and nice reminders. I am pretty good at eye contact with customers. Working in retail for 20 yrs has given me some experience. I recently have been moved around in the store being short of people because of COVID19. I was put on the door to remind customers to wear there mask. Boy, boy, let me tell you about being ignored, but some are cheerful and happy and tell me that I have one, and I will wear it, but they don’t. They keep walking in without putting it on, and we are not allowed to say anything since there not doing fines in our area.

  28. Very interesting Timothy. I know that there are so many beliefs about wearing the masks and you are put into a tough position. I heard even from doctors that I personally know that the normal basic masks do nothing to stop the virus since the virus is way way smaller than the fibers or the holes in the mask. One doc compared it to shooting a BB through a chain-link fence. It goes right through. So I can see how your job at the door would be anything but easy.

  29. I enjoyed reading your blog, Jeffrey. As a retired school teacher, I had to learn communication skills early on. One can easily give a message to someone and expect it to be heard with the same intention that it is spoken, but unless you take time to make sure your message is taken as intended, the outcome may not be as you anticipated. Body language and voice inflection are certainly key ingredients to effective communication.

  30. Another reason I am appreciative of our Compumatrix family. I can hear myself so many times saying, but you do not understand, or you do not understand what I am saying, all because of the perception of the one whom I was trying to communicate. We all here think differently, but overall, our hearts and minds seem to speak the same language.

  31. Once again, a great and timely article Jeff. As those eight steps point out, communication is the key to success. I find that listening to someone and asking questions the most to be the most helpful. Too many times we think we know what someone is trying to convey and jump to conclusions missing the point entirely.

    1. Yes, Kyle. I must say that I am totally guilty of thinking that I know what someone is trying to say before they even finish saying it. It’s easy to jump to your own conclusions and your own thinking and even tune them out while you are getting ready for what you will say. Even though I wrote this blog, I have so much to learn still from it all.

  32. Great message, Jeffrey! I have lived this dilemma so many times. The strange thing is that most of the “miscommunication” is between myself and the people I know best. My wife has a habit of quickly stringing together a dozen 2 or 3-word texts, which is usually very confusing. Since I type much slower than she does, my messages are often misunderstood in response to her messages. Needless to say, our conversations can often be an argument-in-the-making! Later on, she might ask if I took care of something she texted me about. I have no idea what she is talking about, yet my response indicated that I understood and would handle the issue. So frustrating!

  33. I hear what you are saying, William. Not only do we have verbal communication, but now we add to the mix all the email messages and text messages. Often, I can’t keep up with every single text and every word because of work or even being on the tennis court. Especially if its on a group thread. Later I too would hear, “Didn’t you see that test ?” I could swear I sure tried to, but much slips through the cracks from time to time. What a world it is that we now live in!

  34. this is just a great read as many times as I come back and read — and in another 6 months when so many other great reads have been posted, this Blog will still be a blog and replies that need to be read and appreciated — not sure if I do this right or even the right way — but I believe the Truth is the first and foremost part of any Success — but hey ?? jmho RJ

  35. Thanks for the great blog Jeff. The blog is a good description of not listening or understanding. About two years ago, while checking out of a local grocery store, the clerk ask how I was doing. With a few customers behind me, I said well, my dog died the truck broke down and my wife left me. Her reply was great have a good day. Needless to say, everyone behind you didn’t know if they should laugh or cry. I laughed and left without a word from the clerk. Some times we are more concerned with what we are saying than what the other is saying, Kind of like our congress these days.

    1. Robert, I love your story about the disinterested clerk. That sums it all up for sure. People even ask you questions that they really don’t even care how you answer. It is just like politics these days as you say. Do any of the politicians really listen to the people ? Or are most of them just in it for their job and are going to vote the way they vote anyway ?

  36. I have been guilty in the past of getting irritated at my listener for not “getting me” immediately. Although I wish to be authentic, I can see that finding patience and closing the gap of understanding is on me, and when I can, I do better.
    I also want to add that in addition to those excellent eight steps you listed, which I try to employ in both business and personal interactions, I add ‘reflective listening’, demonstrating with my responses that I am understanding what is being told me by using language that “reflects back” the point(s) that was made.

    1. Reflective listening. I like that Peter. It really does matter how we respond to someone and how that we SHOW that we are responding to someone. It’s wonderful when you are talking to someone and their face and gestures are saying that they truly get you and get what you are saying. I especially, but we all need to be better listeners. We were created with two ears and one mouth.. Should be listening twice as much as talking I guess.

  37. One of our most basic need; to understand and be understood. Some are gifted at conveying their thoughts and emotions, others are so closed up, it’s hard to read them or communicate with them. Without the ability to understand what others say or the meaning behind their words, we can miss important cues, lose out on opportunities, fail to see changes in time to appropriately react, and go off in a totally different direction. Worse, if we lack understanding, we’re more prone to selfish acts than helping others. At the same time, without others being able to understand us, we’re often left confused, frustrated, overlooked, angry, misinterpreted, and taken for granted. We might even feel sad and depressed, particularly with our family, if being misunderstood and we do nothing to help the situation.

    1. I totally hear you Steven. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Chinese people, but after spending some time over there with them, I had to really get used to the fact that they never show hardly any emotion when listening to you. They pretty much keep a straight face and you can’t read them at all. At times I didn’t think they were listening at all, and later, they could tell me everything I said. I guess its just different cultures and different ways of showing emotion. Not good or bad, just different.

  38. Thanks Jeff. Good job. It ia so true. Its all in the delivery of the message. The expression, and having the ability to listen. It means so much to the person who needs to be heard. So many people do not have that understanding. So I am glad that this is discussed. Enjoyed your blog, Jeff, thanks.

  39. And to be “misunderstood” is hurtful and can have grave consequences. We’ve all experienced such in our life. It is especially tough when we are “misunderstood” by someone we love and respect or we lose a job over an issue that was nothing but a misunderstanding. Sometimes an apology will clear up the matter, other times there is too much pride involved for both the offended and the offender to patch things up between them. The Bible teaches if YOU are “offended (YOU) go to the offender – if they will not accept you, take a witness – just the opposite is what we tend to do.

    1. You are so right Judy. I think one of the toughest things for me to deal with personally is when I have an absolute pure intention of saying something, or even when I say something that I didn’t mean a thing by it, and it is taken completely the wrong way. Misunderstanding is certainly a part of all communication though I wish it was less frequent for sure.

  40. We can all learn to communicate in more effective manners. We never know how to do everything and relying on input from other sources tend to get the job done faster. Having an open mind while listening is essential. I paid a young girl at the marina I lived at $1 to bail out my dinghy every time it rained. She was always on top of it and rarely was there water in it. She came to me one day saying she had a confession to make. She actually didn’t bail the dinghy out. I asked her if she paid someone else to do it, which would have been ok… She said, no… I don’t. I lift the dinghy up onto the dock and tip it. My answer – The important part is getting the job done. The method is up to you to. And gave her another $1 just because she thought outside the box. 🙂

  41. Love your story Albert about your little boat. Impressive little girl for sure. You must have been a real blessing to her. She also must have been pretty strong to do all of that. Sounds like Compumatrix where Henry and the DEVS have had to change every method under the sun to finally get this working……

  42. While l was reading your blog, I couldn’t help but think how much better my life would’ve been as a young adult, if I would’ve been made aware of this very simple, but important part of human interaction. Actually, I think communication at this level should be taught in grade school, middle school and high school at the very least, so that our children can learn how to successfully communicate with others and appreciate when others communicate with them. Jeff, thank you for bringing this matter to us.

    1. What an excellent idea Paul about teaching all those communication skills in school to the very young kids. That would have formed us into better character if we had been taught that at an early age.To this day I still don’t hold a pen or a pencil in my hand the correct way because I was never taught to in Kindergarten or first grade or whenever. There are some fundamental things we need to know at that impressionable age.

  43. Great and inspiring blog Jeffrey. Communication is very important. It is the way we present ourselves to the world. In communication, words are essential because the words define our actions. If we use the wrong words, our actions will be wrong as well because they are the starting point of it. So better be careful which words to use.

  44. Yes Heloisa. The Bible actually warns about that. It says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. And the tongue is like a small rudder that can steer a huge giant ship. It’s like a small spark that can set a whole forest a blase. That’s why it ways to let your words on earth be few. We need to guard our words. They can be used to give life if we speak right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *