Friday, October 9, 2015

Effective Communication

One evening this past week I was relaxing on the deck out back. It was a perfect evening to sit and get caught up on Bredemske's Sweet Home Algomaha blog. My dog, Emmylou, was enjoying the evening too, as she was outback dilly-dallying here and there.

Then all of a sudden, Emmy made a bee-line directly to me from the far corner of the yard. This was unusual, as she normally does her own thing when outside. But not this time. She came right up to me and sat down. I ignored her for a moment. Then she deliberately leaned into me. Now that was highly irregular, so I put the tablet down and looked at her. She was silently looking into my eyes. She rarely looks into my eyes, and when she does, she quickly looks away. Again, not this time. Something was up.

So I asked her, "What's up?"

I'm not kidding what happened next. She stood up and preceded to slowly turn her backside towards me. That's when I discovered the motivation behind her actions: a sizable dingle-berry was dangling back there from a long strand of grass.

I know, ick.

Sorry, but that's what happened.

Fortunately for both of us, I have a box of latex gloves. After extraction, Emmy completely disregarded me and resumed her dilly-dallying once more.

You're welcome Emmylou.


Emmy's story is a fine illustration on effective communication. I am still amazed that she could communicate so much, and do so nonverbally.

I often fail at clearly communicating what I want. Most of the time, it's because I tend to be a people-pleaser who prefers to go with the flow. This is fine and dandy if the flow fits within my plans, but proves troublesome otherwise. Rather than express a contrary view, I typically keep my mouth shut. This is especially true the closer the person is to me -- a friend, family member, or my spouse.

Failing to state what's important to me is a slippery slope. The more I do this, the further I get away from what I value. Inevitably, this can lead to frustrations and irritable feelings on my part, which can devolve further into other undesired behavior.

All of this can be avoided if I clearly state what I want in the first place. It might be uncomfortable for the moment, but so much better in the long run.

Yes. I should follow Emmy's lead and be clear and direct about my thoughts.

Who knew a dog's dingle-berry could be such a teachable moment? Thanks Emmylou :)

Thanks for reading. Happy Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Funny that you should post on this point, communication, not dingle-berries. I am at the moment trying to figure out how to explain (and assess) to my students that a team member who fails to communicate their dissatisfaction in others' work is as culpable as the party whose work is perceived as inadequate.