This principle is more of an attitude which reflects in behaviour. Try to understand the other person before you make yourself understood. This is a very important principle that Stephen Covey highlights across his book. Why is this principle important? If both of you make yourself understood that means you both are trying to seek understanding from the other person.
None of you are listening! Not much understanding will be developed. If you try to understand the other person, the other person at least feels understood, validated. Chances are very good that the other person also will try to understand you. If there is understanding on both sides there are enough grounds to move forward in the relationship whether personal or professional. If this principle is not there will be a lot of talking at cross purposes without really understanding each other.
If one person so desperately wants to make oneself understood that person will keep talking and so will the other person and at the end of it, neither understands the other because each is so focused on what they want to say. However if one person can step back and listen to the other, then there is some ground for understanding and moving forward. With the newfound understanding half the job of communication is done.
One can move forward to what is mutually acceptable and mutually agreeable. Or one can say,’ You have a better point’, I can agree with you on that.’ Or the other person may say the same. In other words, listening becomes very important. Most of us are poor listeners. We are bursting with what we have to say.
There is too much pressure inside us to keep talking to make ourselves understood. This principle highlights the need to step back and understand the other person. Of course, this can lead to a funny situation where both are waiting for the other to talk. But that is rare. Anyone can initiate and ask the other person for his or her view point. Effective Communication leads to a greater connection and working together.