I have often said that communication between two people is truly a marvel. Communication is often defined as I speak, you listen, you respond, I listen. Broken down into its rudimentary elements, this concept seems to work for most people.
Or does it?
Few people understand the responsibility for ensuring their message is both received and understood. Fewer still understand the responsibility is with the speaker/communicator – not the listener. The blame or responsibility for misunderstanding rests primarily with the communicator. If someone does not understand the message I am giving, then I have not clearly communicated the message I set out to deliver. Yet so many believe misunderstanding is caused by listening party.
Personal accountability requires acknowledging and embracing responsibility for one’s own communication. In effect, that means being clear with communication and taking the time to ensure your message has been received clearly. Without consciously clarifying your verbal messages, understanding and connection with others becomes more a matter of chance than purpose.
Add to this chance conversation the notion that people communicate using different databases of personal experience beliefs, filters, speech and the very act of communicating clearly, and being understood by another human being, becomes something to truly marvel at. Each of us uses a form of communication to convey our emotions, thoughts experiences, needs etc. There are three primary forms/modes of communication. Teachers in training learn about the different learning preferences which generally align with the primary communication systems/models of their students. It is an essential piece of knowledge when communicating yet it is rarely expounded beyond the walls of learning about teaching! I am referring to the Visual, Auditory, and Kinaesthetic models of communication (VAK in short). Do you know which one you use? Do you know which mode of expression is used by each of your loved ones?
The main purpose of communication is the response it gets.
Before you get heated under the collar about someone not understanding you, remember to ask yourself if you communicated clearly. If you did, but they are misunderstanding you, then re-word what you said and how you say it until there is no longer a mismatch in the communication. When you finally “get through” their filters and beliefs about what you said, you will learn two things;
- Communication sometimes feels like hard work when you realise that everyone uses a different set of words or a different system for communication.
- Communication is truly an awesome experience.
This is why I believe in any encounter where two or more people are gathered, AND they each understand what was said in the same way that the speaker meant it, a small miracle happens. The miracle of understanding, the miracle of communication.