Closing the gap between knowing and doing

Mind the gap. Respected and internationally known training and educational provider, Crucial Conversations says:

“When it matters the most, we often do our worst”.

When we face interpersonal communication challenges (or any challenge, really), The gap between knowing what to do, and actually putting that knowledge into action is often profound.

How many of us have experienced this before – where the knowing exceeds the doing? We’ve been taught the right way to communicate (read a book or been through a training session) that promises to bring our game to the next level… but we just can’t execute.

In stressful and important situations science research tells us our adrenaline gland fires, our cognitive processes weaken. Forget about it, brain?! You’re not making any of it easier.

In addition, we’re often not doing our brain any favors when the time gap between learning what to do and actually being able to put it into practice is sometimes arbitrary.

I believe just recognizing this gap exists can be the first step to closing it. Additional steps:

  1. A desire to close the gap – we have to go beyond knowing it’s there, we have to want to close it.
  2. The ability to practice “doing”, to flex our communication muscles to build habit and to practice while we learn through role plays, self-reflection and self-assessment.
  3. The confidence and leanings gained from that practice.

We can teach the “knowing” all we want, but I’d argue training needs to provide more applicable and relevant opportunities for doing to help us all close the gap.

Crucial Skills » Putting Skills into Action.

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