Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Communication Lessons from a GPS

Have you ever used a Global Positioning System while you’re driving? They’re pretty nice. Just type in the address of your destination and leave the navigating to “Daisy.” (Or whatever name you may have given to your new driving buddy.)

Except for the time my GPS didn’t realize the highway she wanted me to take was closed for construction, my trusty gadget has never failed me. She has taught me much about listening and obeying. She has patiently told me where to turn and when to stop, and I have been thankful for her assistance.

On a recent outing, however, I discovered my GPS also had something to teach me about communication. Those of you who have experience with these devices will know what I mean. We missed a turn and — with a voice as calm and pleasant as she always uses — the GPS simply said, “Recalculating.” But the driver was busy talking (of course, it wasn’t me!) and missed the next turn. Still in that patient voice, the GPS said, “Recalculating.”

She didn’t raise her voice, add a sharp edge to her tone, or start throwing out insults. She simply drew our attention to the fact that we’d missed the target and let us know she was going to be re-directing us in the way we needed to go. Any other moms, wives, friends, teachers, people-who-have-to-talk-to-people out there recognize the lesson I learned from the GPS???

Karen Hossink

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