Published by: Ron on September 10th, 2014 | Filed under Communication
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In today’s world we are all so connected through websites, chat-sites, cellphones etc, and yet we are all so disconnected. More and more people recognize the need to communicate but find it difficult. We are like hedgehogs that want to get together, but our prickles keep us apart. Words may sound or look precise, but they are not. All sorts of barriers exist between the communicator and the receiver. Unless these barriers are overcome the message will be distorted or will not get through.
We like to hear what we want to hear. What we understand when someone speaks to us is largely based on our own experience and background. Instead of hearing what people have told us, we hear what our minds tell us they have said.
We tend to ignore or reject communications that conflict with our own beliefs. If they are not rejected, some way is found of twisting and shaping their meaning to fit our preconceptions. When a message is inconsistent with existing beliefs, the receiver rejects its validity, avoids further exposure to it, easily forgets it and, in his memory, distorts what he has heard.
It is difficult to separate what we hear from our feelings about the person who says it. Non-existent motives may be ascribed to the communicator. If we like someone we are more likely to accept what he says – whether it is right or wrong – than if we dislike him.
Words mean different things to different people. Essentially, language is a method of using symbols to represent facts and feelings. Strictly speaking, we can’t convey meaning, all we can do is to convey words. Do not assume that because something has a certain meaning to you, it will convey the same meaning to someone else.
Our emotions colour our ability to convey or to receive the true message. When we are insecure or worried, what we hear seems more threatening that when we are secure and at peace with the world. When we are angry or depressed, we tend to reject what might otherwise seem like reasonable requests or good ideas. During heated argument, many things that are said may not be understood or may be badly distorted.
These are just some of the barriers we face during communication. So how do we overcome these barriers?
Well we have to adjust to the world of the receiver. Try to predict the impact of what you are going to say on the receiver’s feelings and attitudes. Tailor the message to fit the receiver’s vocabulary, interests and values. Be aware of how the information might be misinterpreted because of prejudices, the influence of others and the tendency of people to reject what they do not want to hear.
Another good method is using feedback. Ensure that you get a message back from the receiver which tells you how much has been understood.
Use face-to-face communication. Whenever possible talk to people rather than write to them. That is how you can get feedback. You can adjust or change your message according to reactions. You can also deliver it in a more human and understanding way, this can help to overcome prejudices. Verbal criticism can often be given in a more constructive manner than written reproof which always seems to be harsher.
Let us all make our new years resolution to start to try and communicate better with our husbands, friends, work colleagues and bosses. This way we might just be a bit closer to a society that is in harmony.
Published by: Ron on January 18th, 2012 | Filed under Business, Communication
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