Tommy- "Mom! Billy took my toy!!!" Billy- "No I didn’t! Mommy it was my toy! I just took my toy back! I rescued it!" *End scene
You’ve probably all been there...or seen it. Some of you may even have been the detective on one of these cases. What we learn is that there are three sides to a story. What Billy sees, what Tommy sees, and what really happened. This is called perspective. Everyone has a perspective and it is our task to understand others perspectives as well as our own. Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward something or way of regarding something. Like pizza, you may like pizza, but I might not like pizza. The pizza is still the same, it is our perspectives that differ. But I'm not here to talk about pizza, unfortunately. I would like to talk about communication in its spoken form, when a thought becomes a word then hurdled into the atmosphere for your ears to collect and then decipher. Words are like packages, how they are wrapped is how they are received. But everyone receives each package through their own perspective. Even my dad has his own perspective. I once delivered a “package” to my dad. I wanted to critique him on something he did earlier that day. I had put a lot of thought into the words I would say but unfortunately I had not considered the way in which I would deliver those words. My father did not like the approach that I had made in delivering my message. It was not the message but the way in which I delivered the message that he took offence to. At the time I did not know what I had done wrong. But I now understand that my father and I did not share the same perspective. I saw the package or the message but he saw the wrapping or the way in which I had delivered that message. We had been arguing over two different things. If we had been jousting we would have been going in opposite directions! It was his perspective that I did not take into consideration. People tend to listen to the way we say something more than the words we are using. It is the difference between the spirit of hate and the spirit of love in our voice. Body language makes up 83% of communication. 10% is the tone in our voice, but only 7% of communication happens through words. That 7% has some great potential but think of how much more potent those words could be if they are said in a way that does not strike up the recipient’s defenses? So I implore you to think deeper than just your words. Look for the ways your tone affects your words. Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1) Even our good friend Eeyore (the eternally depressed donkey from Winnie the Pooh) knew a little something about perspective - “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” (written by A. A. Milne). A leader must understand others perspectives when he goes to speak words that may be hard to swallow. So next time I deliver a “package” I’ll pay closer attention to the wrapping.