I can’t take credit for this expression because I learned it in a coaching skills course a few years ago. Once I took a minute to process the sentence, (because my mind had one of those ‘Hey, wait a minute, what are you saying?’ moments); it really resonated with me.
It is an excellent reminder that when you communicate, you have a responsibility to make sure that your intended message is received. I know for a fact that when I was new to the workplace, I was often afraid to let people know I did not understand everything they told me. I would listen carefully and then return to
my desk. Once I was back at my desk I would frantically look up the pieces that did not make sense. Isn’t it sad that I did not feel comfortable just asking? Of course I need to take responsibility for not speaking up. Sure, some people I worked with (or for) would not make it easy for me to ask questions, but not everyone would have made it uncomfortable.
When it comes to communicating, the sender or originator of the message is responsible for making sure the receiver gets the message. One way to do this is to ask the receiver to tell you in their own words what you said. Of course you want to do this in an open, friendly and non-combative way. You want them to
understand that you care about having good clear communications. If anyone had done this to me when I was new to the workplace, they would have known when I did not ‘get it’. Because when I did not ‘get it’; I would have parroted their words back to them, exactly as they had uttered them. This is definitely a clue,
since most of us have our own style of speaking. If someone had asked me to describe what they had just said in my own words, my lack of understanding would have been clear. Boy that sure would have saved me all kinds of research time later! It also would have helped teach me that it was my responsibility as the receiver of the message to say ‘Hey, I do not get it.’
Another version of this expression; the only thing I wrote is what you read. So no matter what I think I have stated in this blog entry, the part that really matters is what you take away from it as my reader.