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Clear Communication Solves and Dissolves People Problems

Clear communication solves and dissolves people problems. When emotions feel rough, clear communication can be challenging, but it is worth it!

Two weeks ago, I sent an email to our financial planner, asking her to meet with me. I explained that my husband was swamped at work, and we had some questions about his approaching retirement that I agreed to find the answers to. A week went by with no reply, and our questions still loomed. After I sent the second email, the scheduler called my husband to schedule the meeting. When he reiterated the meeting was to be with only me, they finally called me.

I was mad, confused, and freaked out. Why didn’t they work with me the first, second, and third time? In my dismay, I began an email to her but left it unsent. Then I calmed down. I knew I wanted to understand, have a constructive, respectful meeting and get our answers met.  I rewrote my email, communicating clearly: “I am uncomfortable with how our upcoming meeting was scheduled,” and continued with the facts and timeline, closing with, can you help me understand.

Guess what! After a few easy email exchanges, I found out that my original first email didn’t go through. It was from an email that wasn’t approved by their server. My second email, sent from my personal email address, appeared to be asking for a regular meeting where we both attend. Realizing the gap in communication, and the tone of my original email, she empathetically apologized for the delay and mix up.  She explained they use Salesforce, which identifies one main contact number and that she was happy to change our first contact number to mine if that was more helpful.

Now that I understand what transpired and why, I look forward to our upcoming meeting. I can imagine how  could  how uncomfortable or inefficient the meeting would have been,  had I not clarified the miscommunication in this manner.

Strategies to calm down and clearly communicate can be found in Constructive Communications: 10 Guidelines to Resolve Conflict and Drive Results at Work and At Home. They include strategies such as taking a pause, getting clear on the desired results, and communicating to gain understanding, not to prove right or wrong.