It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re asked to repeat yourself. We’ve been through this before. Why are we having this same conversation? But if someone else doesn’t get what you’re trying to say, it’s really not their fault.
There are many reasons we might get asked for a repeat conversation:
It Was Clear, Right?
We think someone gets what we once told them. We had a conversation about this. It went well. Everyone left nodding their heads. I knew exactly what we decided and why. And supposedly everyone else did. Apparently the clarity we thought we had was not widespread. Apparently the viewpoint we ended with in our head wasn’t want others had. Apparently the way we understood the words spoken was not how everyone else understood them. So we’re having another conversation in search of such clarity.
Our Team is Changing
We had foundational conversations about this important subject two years ago. But now we have doubled our team. We’ve had a few conversations related to it, sprinkled about as the months have gone on. But those two years have gone fast, and there are a bunch of people who have never gotten the full story. And they definitely didn’t experience what led to the original decision. This isn’t a repeat for many. It’s the first time. They want their own experience.
Since the last time we met, we have had new findings. We’ve learned. We’ve changed our minds. We’ve been influenced by other opinions. We have let go. We’re willing to experiment on new things. We have gained new insight and new context. We want to bring this information to a new conversation. It will be a repeat, but there will be new important perspectives present. Perhaps the outcome won’t be what it has been recently.
Seeking New Answers
The last time we had a conversation, perhaps not all were completely satisfied. Yes, there was understanding. But there is still lingering hope for some that if the subject is broached again, the outcome will be different. Sometimes it will be. Other times it won’t. Sometimes we need to learn when to apply our energy toward things we can better influence for good.
It’s ok to repeat things. Yes, it does require patience. No, it doesn’t mean you failed in your initial communication. This is communication. This is what it takes. You will need to repeat yourself – often.
It’s ok to create another meeting about the same thing. We want to be efficient, yes, but often things aren’t figured out completely in a single meeting. If you don’t work diligently toward a shared understanding and agreement, you’ll let dissatisfaction fester and you’ll be required to come back to a cold topic just when you’d rather not.
If people don’t understand, they’ll ask and question. We shouldn’t roll our eyes. We should empathize with their need. They’re telling us they don’t remember or understand. It’s hard to expend fresh energy on what we view as old ideas from old conversations. But it’s ok to repeat yourself.
Are there things that you try to do the second or third time around to ensure that there is more clarity in the outcomes of meetings or conversations?