One would think that getting a 94% on a Fourth Grade math paper is “Good”, maybe even “Very Good!” but not this week!
Libby (our 9 year old daughter) did just that on one of her math assignments this past week and her teacher showed minus one (15 right out of 16 total) and the score as 94%, letter grade of “A” and then wrote, “Not Bad.” in red felt tip pen across the top of the page. Now I understand in the vernacular that “Not Bad” might mean… “Hey, that’s pretty good.” But when a teacher (both a title and description) is dealing with a fourth grader I strongly believe that the expression should be beyond misinterpretation. In other words, “Good Job!” or “Very Good!” would have been the appropriate feedback.
Which makes me think of how we all communicate or maybe don’t communicate but think we are… This past week one of my clients sent a couple of e-mails, sent a text and called frustrated that the person they were communicating to wasn’t “getting it!” It’s true the person they were communicating to wasn’t getting it… but it wasn’t the receiver’s problem. It was my client’s, aka the sender, that was the problem. As I watched the whole episode play out real time, I noticed where the breakdown was happening. I literally send my client a verbatim phrase and told them (remaining non sex specific on purpose) “Send this to the person you are communicating with…” then listed exactly what to say… and sure enough, the message got through!
It makes me think of one of the presuppositions in Neuro-Lingustic Programming, (NLP for short) which says: “The quality of your communication can be judged by the response you elicit (you could also say the… results you get).” Think about that next time you’re frustrated when your message isn’t getting through and your pointing your finger to that “idiot” you’re communicating (or not) with… Then notice that when you point a your finger at someone else there are three pointing back at you. The message, check there first!