Are You Making These 4 Simple Communication Mistakes?

The Yoga Whisperer
Language is something we take for granted. Often we get out wires crossed between our mind and our mouth. It’s important to pay attentio to what we say. Otherwise we give confusing instructions or say things we don’t mean.

Adorable cat makes phone call, MindFitMove, Mindful Fitness

This week at yoga school, my partner and I had to teach each other a warm up sequence. For the most part, it went really well. But on a few occasions, our words missed the mark.

Luckily, I was paying attention and I was able to make the following list:

Four Ways That Communication Fails
(and four ways to clarify what you mean.)

1. We Lack a Shared Vocabulary –
Before meeting my partner, I was practicing warm-ups with some friends. Both people were smart, but not into yoga. Still, I was surprised when they didn’t understand the instruction, “flex your foot.”

We sometimes assume everyone know what we know. If they don’t we grow impatient. Often we ignore their confusion or we just give up.

How to Fix It:
When you notice confusion arise stop, take a deep breath, and try again. Doing this creates the space for meaningful communication.

In this case, I took a deep breath. Then I said, “Move your toes up towards your shin.” They got it instantly and we were able to keep going.

2. We Take Our Words for Granted –
This week my yoga partner asked me to repeat a certain movement. I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t.

She was asking me to bounce in a stretch. (Bouncing in a stretch is a big no-no) But I wasn’t sure what to say.

We sometimes fail to reflect on the words we use. Words can mean so many different things to different people. We have to mindful of what we say.

How to Fix It:
Awareness of how words are being received is the way to prevent this.

In this case, She saw I was conflicted. She stopped and clarified what she meant.

Once we had talked about it, she understood my concerns. And I understood what she was trying to do.

3. We Go Too Fast –
While teaching my partner, I noticed myself rushing. Sometimes my partner got my cues, but sometimes she didn’t. I became unsure of how to proceed.

We all love to be efficient, but it’s easy to set a quick pace. When we speak to others fast rarely equals clear.

How to Fix It:
When you communicate, take your time. Nothing takes longer than confusion. It’s better to slow down the first time through.

I realized I needed to slow down with my partner. I got down and did little demos. I explained each part of the movement. The process helped me understand what to explain and see where I was losing her.

Too Much Information, MindFitMove, Mindful Fitness, Mindfulness

4. We Give Too Much Information –
I was trying to show my partner a hip routine I do with my clients. I thought it would be a great warm up for yoga class. But I forgot how complex it was.

As we were going through it, I noticed my partner stop moving. She was listening, but wasn’t sure what to do.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own agenda. We often think we have so much to say. But if the person can’t take it in, it doesn’t matter what we say.

How to Fix It:
When we communicate, often less is more. It shows respect for our listener and gives greater weight to what we say.

I realized I was saying too many things. When I realized this, I stopped. Then I repeated myself and focusing just on the basics.

As soon as I simplified it, she started doing what I asked with ease.

MindFitMove Practice
– Think about an interaction where miscommunication happened.
– Write down what went wrong and what you think caused the miscommunication
(Hint: Take responsibility for your part in this)
– Write down a strategy you could use next time to express yourself more clearly.

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