Is there someone with whom you have built up a barrier to communication?
Perhaps you reached an impasse years ago and still work with this person. Perhaps you know what you want to say and do not feel you can say it, or maybe you are not clear at all. For whatever reason, there’s a wall between you.
It’s hard to talk with him or her, and it’s different from the many work relationships where you and others get along fine.
If you would prefer that the wall weren’t there, here are some steps to take.
First, what are your assumptions? We commonly assume that the correct solutions are obvious, the other person’s position is unchangeable, that they are not rational, and that we have no responsibility for the breakdown.
Recognizing and questioning those assumptions can open the door for dialogue.
The next important step is to be careful NOT to jump in and give a good explanation of where you are coming from. Invite a conversation and then listen.
Listening through what the other person has to say may be difficult. Listen without interrupting, and with empathy.
If you find you are not able to listen through, take time to reflect. Maybe take out a piece of paper and write out your thoughts. Speak with a friend or communication coach to sort out what’s in the way and to build the skill of listening well.
If you can do this, there are few barriers to communication that will stand.