Most motivational speakers are avid bloggers and I'm no exception. I was in deep concentration in my office, writing a post, when suddenly the door flew open and my husband popped his head in and abruptly said, "I need your help." He slammed the door and left.
What? Excuse me? I'm working here! I wouldn't just bust into HIS workplace and yell, "I need your help" and walk away! Grrrrr.
But I DID get up and follow him to where he was working on the other side of the house. And yes, I could see that he needed me to hold a door frame in place while he secured it to the wall, so I did what he asked. When he was finished, he said, "Okay, thanks."
I calmly looked at him and said, "Honey, when you burst into my office and blurt out, 'I need your help,' and then abruptly leave, it's extremely disruptive and feels inconsiderate to me. In the future, I need you to gently walk in the room and say, 'Honey, I know you're busy, but if it's not too much trouble could you come now and help me with something?' If you do that, I'll happily come help."
He didn't look happy but he said okay.
Not five minutes later he slammed into my office again and said, "Okay. I can do that. I can ask you like that. But when YOU need something, there's a particular way I want YOU to ask ME! I want you to walk into my office and immediately say, 'I need your help.' Period. If you start saying things like, 'Honey, I know you're busy, but when you get the chance, if it's not too much trouble, I would really appreciate it and be forever in your debt if….' it will make my head explode!"
I laughed out loud. And I got it. It wasn't that either of us was right or wrong in our communication style, it was that we didn't consider what the other person would want or need in order for us to get heard.
The moral of the story is this: When on Mars, speak like a Martian, and when on Venus, speak like a Venetian.