Maree Burgess shows individuals

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Meaning Is Meaning... Or Is It?

The meaning of my message is what you understand, not what I think I’m saying.

Diving into the meaning of words allows us to uncover what is being deleted, generalised or distorted by our unique individual filters. What is going on inside our heads largely determines our reality.

When we are interacting and communicating with others the likelihood that our meaning of what we are saying matches their meaning of what they are hearing is low as we are both creating our own meaning using different filters.

It’s about digging into the words the other person is saying to uncover meaning and understand what they are saying. This also deepens their understanding of what they are saying as well.

Asking questions to understand what someone is saying and deepen their understanding is key to matching meaning and to creating quality conversations.

Earlier this year I spent an hour with a coaching client, Jane, asking her the purpose behind her goal. Her initial purpose altered as I kept taking her down a layer at a time to really understand her purpose as her initial response was very generic (for example ‘to build a profitable business’).

Jane initially found it frustrating to keep answering the same question (‘for what purpose did she want to achieve…), and then she became speechless when she realised her goal was driven by a sense of guilt for something that had happened earlier in her life – her future focus and goal had been to alleviate that guilt. Once she realised that, her goal didn’t change, but it meant she could release that guilt and focus on where she wanted to get to.

Not only can we dive into the meaning behind people’s words to create more understanding – it also helps others build their own understanding as well.

Think about conversations you are having today – do you believe every one of them was successful in that you understood what you were saying and really hearing what they were saying?

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