We make lots of assumptions that our receiver understands the information in the same context and intent that we have sent it. Unfortunately as we all know this isn’t always the case and the outcome isn’t as expected.
I really like the following quote from NLP (Nero linguistic programming)
“The meaning of communication is the response that we get”
Stop and think about that for a moment….. Yes it implies it’s the responsibility of person sending the message to ensure the receiver understands the content and the intent. The response that we get is a reflection of the interpretation of the message.
Every channel we might use including face to face, email, social media, phone etc is open to interpretation by the receiver.
So what gets in the way of clear communication and understanding? Our brain filters information – it does this to cope with the enormous amount of information it receives constantly. The filters will vary from person to person based on our perceptions and experiences.
The filters will include past experiences, beliefs, rules of thumb and so on, and will be influenced by our personality type as well. Putting ourself in the other persons shoes and attempting to see the message from their perspective is a good start.
When the communication is very important check in – follow the feedback loop – ask a question of the receiver. “What do you understand from our conversation?”
With simple instructions like “don’t shut the gate” our brain filters out the “don’t” and we often remembered “shut the gate” – this can easily be reframed in the positive to “leave the gate open”. Framing instructions in the positive usually has a more positive outcome!
Be particularly careful with email, especially with bad news or negative feedback. It’s very easy to read between the lines of emails and misinterpret the intent. If your message isn’t positive it’s best done face to face or, at minimum over the phone.
“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this to understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Tony Robbins
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