Each person who communicates has a communications toolbox. We all have the same tools, yet some people are brilliant communicators and others are quite poor. So what’s the difference? A few things.
1. Some people have been given a tutorial of their toolbox. Somewhere along the line, they learned which tools to use in which situations, and which tools not to use. Which tools were most effective and which ones were destructive. Other people, I believe, never learned or never realized that they even had a toolbox, let alone what it contained.
2. While everyone has the same tools in their communications toolbox, some people have chosen to put some tools “off limits.” They choose, for the good of everyone involved, to not use some of the tools that they have inherited into their toolbox.
3. Some people, usually those who don’t realize they even have a toolbox, learn to use a few of the tools very, very well and they stick to using only those tools. They haven’t explored the other options. They only know a few, so they stick to those.
So what’s in the toolbox? A variety of different communication tools. Assertiveness, passion, love, bitterness, jealousy, defensiveness, anger, mercy, compassion, intellect, sarcasm, passivity, blame-shifting, informative, strength, timidness, and so many more. Feel free to add your own.
For me, I was one of those people who didn’t realize I even possessed a communications toolbox. But after talking to a wise counselor, I realize that I had gotten into the habit of using a few tools over and over and over…and those tools were obviously NOT working for me! Defensiveness was the weapon of choice for me. I would attack and defend and lash out any time I felt unsafe, unwanted, or unheard. I also used blame-shifting, sarcasm, and anger in a desperate and hopeless attempt to have people really hear my true feelings, opinions, thoughts, and passions. But to no avail. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being heard. I couldn’t understand why my relationships were suffering more than thriving, why I simply couldnt get my point across.
The reason? I was using the wrong tools.
So next time you go to communicate…either verbally or non-verbally…consider which tool will best help you get your point across clearly.