If I asked you you'd say you were quite good at it yes?
It’s good to talk isn’t it? That’s the way we all get on and things progress.
It’s probably better to think of it as the way we muddle through and somehow manage to get things done without anyone getting killed.
Mis-communication is more the norm.
Remember the old fax, or maybe the photocopier?
The copied image was always a blurry iteration of the original.
Remember Chinese Whispers where the message ends up being quite different from the original?
That’s the way it really works.
Think about the mechanics of communication for a moment.
I have a thought. I frame that thought using my view of the world (different from yours). I then translate that thought into words. Those words are articulated either by sound or writing.
The advantage of the spoken voice is the addition of tone, stress and other things which add to and qualify the meaning and intent. If writing you have to add this additional nuance using only words.
The message then goes via sound waves or vision across the distance between us and into your brain. (plenty of scope for misunderstanding on the journey). You then interpret the message using your vocabulary and view of the world. You are then supposed to know exactly what I was thinking?
Duh! What was I thinking!
That it happens at all is marvellous. That it happens so well is a miracle.
Want to improve your communication?
Start thinking of ways to finesse your communication, ways to get it to be a little bit better, to remove ambiguity and the possibility of misinterpretation.
The things you can do to double check understanding (both for what you say and what you hear).
Remember – we’re just trying to muddle through and somehow manage to get things done without anyone getting killed.
By Robin Chandler, Director, Impact Factory