The Successful Communicator

Most people think they are communicating, when in actuality, they are not getting their message across. Yes, they are sending messages; however, much is lost within the communication process, which comprises more than 90% of the message being sent!

The receiver may be thinking what the right answer would be for your question; they may be thinking about something that just happened that they cannot get of their heads, or their feelings and emotions are being compromised from hearing the communication.

By the time your message is sent and the time your message is received, a lot happens with your message. The person hears the message and decodes it, giving their interpretation to it.

In business and in relationships, we want a message to be heard and effective if we are to proceed with a good communication between two parties. Through this book,, The Communication Handbook, my hope is that you obtain the necessary knowledge to use language correctly and to know the many variances of the language process.

Everywhere we go, there seems to be signals of some kind. There are signs, logos, labels, photographs, newspapers mobile devices and computer screens. The signs are so common that we get used to them and instinctively know what they mean. These signals have become important to our way of life.

People interpret what they want to interpret. They hear what they choose.

In the book, Words That Work, Frank L. Luntz says,

“It’s not what you say, and it’s what people hear.” He goes on to say “You can have the best message in the world, but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of his or her own emotions preconceptions, prejudices and preexisting beliefs.”

In today’s world of social networking, texting, tweets and Facebook posts, along with electronic forms of communication words can easily be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

People want immediate gratification when they send a message. When people used to write letters, (what a concept!) they had to wait for a response. Today, you reach contacts, worldwide, in seconds. We are in an era with “real time.”) Businesses now send messages via office email quickly and efficiently.

In the book, Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner, he said that

“We. now have the opportunity to go beyond stated expectations and explore specific interests. Since sending and receiving messages immediately is so beneficial, we seem to have lost the ability to use more archaic forms of communication. No longer do your children call every week; they text. Everything has moved in a direction of I need information right now. It concerns me we are losing the opportunity to communicate in-person or over a landline, in lieu of technological advances.”

The majority of the population is born with an ability to hear, but not necessarily, to listen. There are several reasons people do not or cannot listen or remember. These range from physical conditions to cultural beliefs.

During one of the classes, required to get my Ph.D., an instructor gave his view on the word ‘understand.’ In his words, “The word ‘understand’ is just a clever reversal of ‘stand under’ and has been suggested to mean just that: to stand under.” If you ‘stand under’ someone and look up to them you will better understand what they are going through and why your communication may not be getting across.

Edward R. Murrow said,

“Communication’ is the process of exchanging information and ideas. An active process, it involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding intended messages. There are many means of communicating and many different language systems. Speech and language is only a portion of communication.

Other aspects of communication may enhance or even eclipse the linguistic code. These aspects are paralinguistic, nonlinguistic, and linguistic.

It is the transmission of information so that the recipient understands what the sender intends.”

Just because we send a message doesn’t mean the receiver hears what you intended them to hear because somewhere in-between the sender and the receiver are the thought processes, feelings and interpretations of the receiver. The receiver must be open to receiving the senders’ message.

For example, when you see a yellow sign with a curved arrow along the road, you know there is a curve ahead. When you see a plus sign, you know you are to add. When you see a red light, you know to stop.

The key to the use of signals in communication knows that both the sender and receiver of the message must understand the communication! Let’s say, you were given a math problem, but you did not know the minus sign is the signal for subtraction, you would not be able to complete the problem.

When people used to write letters, (what a concept!) they had to wait until the receiver gets the communication.

Thus, The Communication Handbook is about the communication process and all that it entails.

Watch on Amazon for The Communication Handbook (March, 2013). Everyone needs this book in order to communicate effectively.

Conflict and Good Communication Skills

What is conflict? Conflict arises when two or more people are in disagreement with each other, and each believe the other is wrong or at fault. Another interpretation is the point at which hostility and anger may result in physical harm to others. Conflict is evident in many of the relationships that we may experience in our everyday lives. It may be between co-workers, employer and employee, spouses or even in other family relationships. In the course of living we may have various relationships and because of our differing personalities these may result in conflict arising.

I vividly remember a situation between myself and a good friend which denigrated into an argument; and as we each refused to give in conflict set in and eventually the friendship ended. As a more mature person I now recognize that it’s okay to hold opposing views. To some extent agreeing to disagree and moving on from the conflict. Sometimes an intermediary may be useful in helping the opposing people come to some resolution. This is especially true with married people who may seek intervention through a marriage counselor.

Conflict resolution involves using good and effective communication skills. An essential part of communications is listening as well as speaking. We all know that as we communicate our emotions come into play; so we need to be prepared to calmly put our point of view across. Sometimes it’s necessary to put our point of view across several times, that is to re-phrase what we are saying. For instance in a scenario where a husband and wife are experiencing conflict it is perhaps important to set aside time to speak to each other when there is little chance of being interrupted. It could be that the wife in the situation feels she is not receiving adequate support in the home, whereas the husband feels that all his wife does is nag.

The conversation between the couple may start with the wife saying something like ‘I know I’ve said this many times before, but I really feel that you could do more in the home’. ‘Let me just say that again so that you don’t feel I’m being unnecessarily difficult. Is it possible that we can share the housework? We are both working, but it seems that most things are left for me to do, including the shopping. The response is probably negative from her spouse who may retreat into a defensive mode if he feels he is being attacked and or unappreciated.

So how then do we communicate with each other and elicit the desired response. I would argue that in all situations we need to stop putting ‘me’ first. It’s important not just to get your own way but to recognize that in resolving the conflict it has to be done in a way that is in the best interest of all concerned.

In the scenario previously mentioned if someone, in this case the wife, feels that she is unnecessarily burdened she may at some point become resentful, and seek other ways of balancing the scales. This may lead to other difficulties in the marriage. I believe that sharing your point of view in a constructive manner may encourage a supportive response. It may be that you appeal to your partner’s ego. For instance, I really appreciate it when you put the rubbish out or I really wish you unpack the dishwasher more often.

There are many ways of communicating effectively to elicit a desired response and I have merely illustrated a few. I don’t always get it right, however I definitely believe that its best to communicate feelings rather than acting them out. If you are hurt, or feel aggrieved share the feelings, the hurts or the difficulty with the person with whom you are having a relationship. If they wish to have a harmonious relationship they will respond positively and nor merely deflect the communication.