In communication, it always seems that things are going well, even when it isn’t. People usually have a way of concealing their dissatisfaction behind a smile for fear of damaging the goodwill that exists among the relevant parties. This reaction by most of us actually makes communication more complex. While most literary sources will state that good communication usually encompasses the expression of one’s perception and opinions truthfully to the relevant parties involved, this usually does not happen in reality.
Hence, as communicators, we need to find an effective way to understand the sentiments of others without any form of confrontation or conflict. And one such way will be to check for inconsistencies, be it in the form of a person’s body language, the lingo that he or she uses or even the manner that he or she goes about handling daily issues. This is because when a person is uncomfortable about certain issues, they might not express their opinions verbally but their disagreement will probably show through their communication style. For example, when a person is angry, they might avoid eye contact when we apologise to them about the issue (but of course, we have to make sure that it’s not a shyness issue). When a person is friendly initially but turns cold all of a sudden, there’s probably a reason behind it too.
As communicators, we need to have both eyes and ears for details, just like a detective. Although the goals are different, we share one common technique for observation: checking for inconsistencies. This is an important skill that most great communicators possess. At times, these communicators are seen as reading someone else’s mind but in reality, they are merely observing inconsistencies in the behaviour of others and making a deduction about the reasons, where – more often than not- they are justified.
Looking for inconsistencies, examining the reasons behind the change and understanding the rationale for a person’s course of action is a challenging task and can’t be accomplished within a short period of time. This is precisely why all of us should start observing and examining inconsistencies now.
Resolving conflicts in communication is vital to sustaining healthy relationships but preventing conflicts before they arise is even more important.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.