I spoke with a friend recently, who mentioned a consultation he’d seen when a professional assessed a patient but failed to establish a rapport with any of the questions they asked. Fortunately my friend realised that none of the questions meant anything to the patient – that the person had an entirely different set of interests and experiences than those of the professional.
So my friend supplied some of the clues and the session started again, and the professional was able to carry on a meaningful conversation at last. It was as if they had been speaking two foreign languages with no translation possible.
How often have I done this myself? Asked questions with technical terms and met a blank stare? Or worse – met hostility as the person I was talking to became angry at the barrier they thought I was putting up. The result would have been dissatisfaction on both sides and my opinion of the other person would have been wrong.
So – the challenge for me is to communicate effectively by finding out what language the other person speaks. And I have to be prepared to learn it myself to make the thing work. It’ll be a complex task in some instances as I’ll have to imagine links I might not have thought of before – but then I’ll be learning as well.