But why is communication so challenging?

Yesterday we talked about how miscommunication was quite common and that most of us could do with some reminders on how to communicate better.

There are many many reasons why the message gets lost in translation between my mind and your ears.

Let's try and understand a few of them.

I have an idea in my head, and I want to convey it to you. I try to convey it to the best of my ability. You then have to take my words (assuming that you heard them correctly), decode and understand them to the best of your ability and make meaning out of them.

Both our abilities to convey and receive these messages are of course impacted by many factors.

I will convey my message based on my skill at using language, what certain words mean to me and my tone and body language (which may confirm or conflict with the message).

I also have underlying emotions that colour the way I speak. If I want to go out for dinner, for example, I might ask "What shall we do for dinner" because it feels safer than making a clear request which might be rejected. So I protect myself using language which may not reflect exactly what I mean to say.

There are also environmental distractions, more now than ever before. There may be TV in the background, you or I may be on our devices at the same time as we talking to each other or we might be in different rooms when the conversation is taking place.

In addition to all of this, your ability to listen to and understand my message is also impacted by many factors: what other things are going on in your head at the moment, what you expect me to say, what certain words mean to you and the history of our relationship.

Given the above, it is not surprising that we find communicating with each other so challenging, is it?

The good news is that once we become aware of the internal, external and environmental filters that are impacting the messages we send each other, we can learn to manage them and greatly improve the chances of communicating effectively.

There is hope!!

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