“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
Communication? We’re all experts, aren’t we? After all, we’ve been doing it since we were born. So long as I am clear about what I want to say people will understand me and if they don’t that’s their problem, isn’t it?
The fact is that effective communication is often hampered by complacency; we assume that the other person got the message as intended. In reality, it doesn’t work that way and the reason is simple; communication is complex, and most of it happens at a subconscious level. We are being constantly bombarded with information much of which is irrelevant and much of which can be misleading.
Our brains process 11 million bits of information every second, but we can only consciously process 16 to 40 bits. Our subconscious mind is in charge of the rest.
To communicate effectively we must understand that perception is fundamental to the success of communication and perception is personal. There are two sides to every conversation:
1. What I think I said
2. What you think I said
Then we make it mean something which leads to us separately feeling something and that in turn, leads us to respond or behave in a certain way. This is where problems can arise.
The second error many of us make in communication is that we listen to reply rather than listening to understand. Be truthful, how often do you formulate what you’re going to say before the other person has finished speaking? Active listening is a skill and it takes practise but even before that we need to learn the skill.
In the Better Communication Workshop. we begin with establishing the way each of the participants make sense of the world. We’re all different but as the saying goes “you don’t know what you don’t know” and many of us have no idea which Primary Representational Systems we favour.
We then consider the Thought Process; how personal interpretation is reached and the impact this can have on the original message. We consider some of the filters which can ambush the message and send it spiralling down another rabbit hole.
We practise non-violent communication understanding the fundamentals of good communication.
As a communicator are you a giraffe or a jackal?
Finally, we practise active listening which can seem strange at first but only because we have got used to listening to reply and not to understand.
We can all improve our communication. Better communication leads to clearer conversations, saves time and avoids misunderstandings. It transforms not only your team relationships but your client relationships too.
Please get in touch for a no obligation chat and let’s see how we can build better communication for you and your team.