In my long career of working with creative people, there have been several times where the person on the other end (listener) of the conversation had a difficult time distinguishing whether the creative individual (presenter) was expressing passion or frustration. Through my eyes, I try to see two sides to every discussion and often times feelings cross over each other leaving the listener confused and the presenter sounding crazy. This is a problem, but not a negative problem. It is simply the difference between expression and expectations.
From children to adults, people are challenged by how they express themselves and what others expect from them. Creative individuals have a difficult time expressing themselves with words therefore they use art/music/design to help them share their thoughts and feelings. And often times the listener, who isn’t necessarily “creative”, expects the presenter to communicate clearly. Because of this expectation, listeners don’t stop and think that they, too, are responsible for the lack in communication.
In the case of a designer presenting their creative solution, it was passion that brought them to the solution. To be so excited that you, a creative individual, created this design on a clients behalf — with the intent to use it — is super rewarding. But what designers seem to forget is that they are designers, not artists. The solutions they present have to account for feedback from the client. They must be willing to listen to feedback and be careful that their passion doesn’t transition to frustration. Just as a listener can’t expect every word to communicate clearly, the presenter needs to be patient and open to constructive criticism.
Ultimately, the world transpired for us all to work together. If it is for one project or years of projects, we need to help each other be more successful and effective communication is a great place to start. Help each other along the way and have no expectations of another; our communication will improve as we continue working together.
Taking the time to hear and understand a person is the real challenge. If you want to be a more effective communicator: presenter or listener, I’d ask that you test your skills by adding patience and guidance. If you are patient, express it; if you are a leader, guide the conversation so it works for both of you. Overall, eliminate all expectations and help each other understand both perspectives. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about understanding.