Aug 30, 2008

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Understanding Motivation is Key to Communication Mum has a large garden. She is 78 and struggling to keep on top of the garden. I live 80 minutes drive away so I can only go back once a week/fortnight to help out. Anyway, this week gave me a strong lesson in communication. She knew I was going over to put in a 8 hour day, yet had hurt her leg the day before - trying to do the work. I was frustrated. When I got there, Mum knew that I was distant, the atmosphere was bordering on being frosty so I said "Mum, when you tire yourself, when you do too much, despite knowing that I am coming over to do the work...it maddens me. It feels like you don't listen, it feels as though you don't want me to help? I feel powerless stopping you doing too much. The anger is that you seem to not value me wanting to help" She looked at me, pale with tiredness with tears in her eyes and said "I value the time I have with you - that is why I do it. I am not trying to be stubborn, I am trying to ensure you don't see me as a burden, trying to ensure that you don't suddenly not want to come over because you have to work so hard.....You see I value our time much more than the garden" I laughed and gave her a hug. There was me, angry that she wouldn't listen, that she seemed to want to do everything herself, that she seemed not to care - that I cared. There was Mum, caring too much. It made me think about work and how many times we THINK we are communicating and in fact we are communicating the opposite message than we want...why because the two people, have two motivations. To communicate, you need to understand both motivations first...communicate second

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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