Okay, I absolutely hate the word stupid, but worse than that, I hate it when someone makes me feel stupid. As a communicator, the last thing that I want to do is to make someone feel inferior. But no matter how hard I try, because I am so passionate about the things I speak of, occasionally I say or write something that unintentionally makes another person feel inferior (perks of having an opinion).
Do you ever unintentionally make someone else feel stupid? Of course not, because everything you say or write gets interpreted precisely the way you intended it to be, and everyone else thinks just like you think, right? WRONG.
Communication is not easy, particularly because it passes through so many filters: there’s the filter of your life and experience from which you speak, plus there’s the filter of other people’s life-experiences that shapes the way they receive and process information. Therefore, in order to communicate effectively, you must be willing to clear up any miscommunication that takes place, regardless of how much of a hassle it may be to you. Unless you want to alienate people and make them feel stupid, you must be willing to do the laborious work of not just repeating yourself, but finding a better way to communicate and clarify your message.
So, how do you know whether or not you alienate people and make them feel stupid? Here are “5 Ways to Make Someone Feel Stupid.”
1. Communicate in ways that only make sense and apply to someone like you, or with your personality type.
2. Give direction one time and then refuse to repeat yourself, re-communicate, or offer clarification.
3. Choose to value “being right” instead of valuing relationships.
4. Honestly believe that your ideas are always the best ideas.
5. Focus more on what you said than on what the other person heard.
There you have it, 5 surefire ways to alienate people and make them feel stupid. Have you done any of these things lately? If so, maybe you need to swallow your pride, admit your arrogance, and say, “I’m sorry.” Not sure whether you’ve done any of these 5 things? Maybe you need to ask someone you know whether or not you’ve ever made them feel stupid. Brace yourself for the truth, and be ready to get uncomfortable so that you can learn and grow and communicate more effectively.
Think about it.