Are You Getting What I’m Saying?

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We all have those encounters where we feel like things are lost in the translation from our lips to their ears. This happens in conversations, in writing and now even more so through social media. Sometimes the translation gets lost between our heart and theirs. Feelings are wounded, misunderstanding compounds on misunderstanding, motives are questioned.

If you and I are going to talk, to share, to attempt to understand others in this life, we have to know that there will be times of misunderstanding and hurt feelings. But how do we make those times the exception to the rule, not the norm?

Be Clear. Speak, write & communicate with incredible clarity. If you consistently have problems with your words being misunderstood, then maybe it’s not the receivers of information that have the problem, but you. Write your words down, read them, rewrite them and bounce them off of a trusted friend or co-worker if necessary. But make clarity a top priority.

Be Authentic. Nothing inhibits clear communication more than someone who is a phony. When you communicate from the heart it’s not hard to clarify any misunderstandings that may arise. They words you shared were genuine reflections of your heart, so it’s easier to explain them, over and over again if necessary, to help someone truly understand what you were trying to say.

Be OK with it. Bill Murray plays Bob Harris, the star character in the movie “Lost in Translation”. The story is tells of how he and Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson), two Americans disconnected from their lives, find their similarities as they both work and live in Tokyo, Japan. At one point in the movie he says, “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” I wonder if he was talking about those things that get lost in translation? Sometimes no matter how sincere you are, or how hard you try you just aren’t able to help someone understand or believe your words or your heart. It doesn’t mean that conflict or someone else’s pain doesn’t bother you. It means that you may have to accept that it’s totally out of your control.

A recent list of the most difficult languages to learn lists Chinese, Arabic, Tuyuca, Hungarian & Japanese as the top 5 most difficult languages to learn, with Navajo, Estonian, Basque, Polish & Icelandic rounding out the top ten. Although English didn’t make the top ten, somehow I wonder why “Heart to Heart” didn’t make the list. It seems to be the most difficult translation of all. Do everything you can to help those you work with, lead, love and care translate what you are saying effectively, and maybe, just maybe things won’t so easily get “lost in translation”.

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