Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Communication Process

I was thinking about how much of life revolves around communication. I then started thinking about communicating and the communication process. First of all, I am always trying to be a better communicator. I believe the better communicator i am, the more successful i will be. Secondly, most of my ffriends and coleagues are communicators and I thougth the following reminder on the communication process would be valuable for us all (this is an excerpt from a seminar i do called Classic and Relevant Communication).

What Communication is
1. Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feelings, etc.
2. Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words, symbols or other forms of communication.
3. Delivery: the message must be sent in some way, shape, form or fashion.
4. Decoding: lastly, the receiver translates the words or other ideas into a concept or information that they can understand.

Context is the way the message is delivered and is known as Paralanguage - it includes the tone of voice, the look in the sender's eye's, body language, hand gestures, and state of emotions that can be detected. Although context often causes messages to be misunderstood as we believe what we see more than what we hear; they are powerful communicators that help us to understand each other. Please note that we often trust the accuracy of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.

Feedback. Most observers believe that verbal communication and context each count for approximately half of the communication process. The only way to accurately know that the intended message was sent and received properly, is to get feedback.

Three General Rules of the Communication Process

1. Listeners Filter Information. Although you communicate in a way that seems clear to you, the receiver of the communication filters the information through a very complicated set of pre- conceptions that can function to distort the message received.

2. Receivers Listen Selectively. They hear and process some things and gate out other things. That means that while you may have explained the "whole picture", is it likely that the whole thing wasn't received.

3. Feedback is Security. The only way you can ensure that you have created common understanding is by asking the other people what they heard, and what are their reactions to it.

I know the above is rather stoic and so, not at all how i deliver information. I just wanted to send some thoughts and challenge us all to be mindful of our communications at every level. If you would like more info please email me.

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