At first glance communication with another person seems relatively easy. This month I had two different experiences that showed me how tricky it is to understand what a person does or doesn't say. Taking the time to listen to others is important whether you are lawyer, a manager or an employee.
A friend recently shared with me her frustration with her sister in law. She told me that the woman seemed to rebuff her all the time. The sister in law consistently turned down invitations to go places and when they were at family events her sister in law remained quiet. "Cold fish" and "private person" were ways my friend described her. Although I did not share this with my friend I did wonder if someone might use the same words about me. While my friend is warm, outgoing and talkative, I tend to be more quiet and introspective. I must admit that there are times I want and need to be alone too. In fact I enjoy my
friend because she is so different from me. Her talkative style energizes me and draws me out. The second experience was at a funeral for the husband of my mother's friend. The man who passed away was a quiet man who lived a long life (90+ years). The few times that I had been with this couple his wife did
all the talking. I knew the man was a pianist but nothing more.
At the funeral two people gave eulogies. The first was a nephew who said that the man had married into a family of talkers. At family events everyone was shouting and laughing. His uncle, the nephew said, had a quiet presence that the family would miss.
The other speaker was a cousin who was also a musician-a violinist. The deceased was a jazz pianist and had played with some of the greats in the jazz world. The cousin told of the wonderful times he and his cousin had had improvising together. In fact he said lately he had begun calling his cousin "brother". The speaker said his cousin's way of
communicating was with music. Often people don't "get" another person simply because their communication styles are so different. The musician and his cousin did understand
one another because they were alike. We are most comfortable with people who are similar in style to ourselves. At least we know how to communicate with those people.
In my practice I use the DISC behavioral assessment to help people learn about themselves and others. The report provides communication tips for people of different styles. Once clients know how others like to be communicated with, they can adapt their own style to that of their client, employer, employee, team member, or friend.
When you attend a party, a networking event or family function it is important to remember that not everyone is alike. Someone who is quiet and reserved (an introvert) might appreciate having someone new to talk to. It takes time and some effort to draw someone out. Just be curious about their interests and you may discover a jazz musician, a poet or who knows what! Everyone has a value in the world. Take the time to listen for it in others.

Author's Bio: 

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (the attorney’s coach) and a Career Transition Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. To subscribe go to her website Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients
to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are attorneys and people in transition. She may be reached at 781-598-0388.