To communicate is to give and receive information. It is always an interchange – meaning, it is passage from one to another. This interchange implies that the receiver acquires an understanding of what was sent so there is a sharing.
Using this definition of communicating, we discover that more often than not, while we have said something to another person and they physically heard it, there is no guarantee that what transpired could be called communication. After all, just because someone heard what you said doesn’t mean they know what you said. And since all human beings want to be understood, it is a good idea to spend a bit of time addressing the topic of communication.
We’ll start by discussing the four aspects of communication:
Expressing is the verbalization the individual makes which starts the communication process. It is a verbalization that expresses an idea or concept that the individual wishes to share with another person. Getting out the message.
Listening is what the receiver does in order to start his/her part of the communication. Listening is the first important link in the communication process. Hearing the message.
Understanding is what the listener has to have accomplished in order for the communication process to continue forward. Both the sender and the receiver must be patient and allow for understanding to occur before the process may proceed forward. Understanding is knowing what the sender was expressing. Understanding the message.
Feedback is a verbalization by the receiver which pertains to what was expressed that moves the communication forward. It is not expressing. That comes after feedback. Moving the communication forward.
Unfortunately what usually occurs is that someone expresses and while that person is expressing, the receiver, instead of listening, is planning their reply. As a result there is little chance that the receiver will actually understand what the person expressing is attempting to communicate. Most conversations are a series of individuals expressing – a dueling monologue of sorts.
So, take time this week to notice where within the four aspects of communication most of your conversations break down. Are you merely hearing the other person talking but not paying attention to what is being said (not listening)? Are you listening but not taking the time to make sure you understand what is being expressed? Are you understanding but not providing feedback before replying with your own ideas? And, where are you finding the break down in communication with those you are attempting to communicate?
Once you become aware of the path each communication needs to take, you’ll become better at this skill.
Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown
© Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.