Why is communication flawed?

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Ask 20 people in a room what the first five words are that come to their mind when you say “education”, you get many different answers. Of course many people would mention words like “learning”, “teacher”, “knowledge” etc. But where it concerns other details some may mention “boring”, or “fun”, “punishment”, “exciting” or any other word. We each have a different map of the world, created by our past experiences, personality, culture, (limiting) beliefs, and so forth. We all put multiple meanings to words, and words give us feelings (either positive or negative.)

Another example is the word “communication” itself. As it is unclear who is communicating with whom, and in what way specifically? Verbally or non-verbally? Over the phone, or in person? Or simply communication as a general all encompassing concept? I don’t know about you, but any office I ever worked in, the Communications Department did something completely different. And in some cases, this department was the worst communicator in the entire corporation because they failed to actually communicate.

We each have different filters. If we were to communicate every detail of what each word means to us specifically, we would have to write a novel to explain to someone we are simply going to the store to get some milk. This means we choose to voice some information and not others. All other information is filtered out. It is not really a conscious process, but largely unconscious. But yet, each and every one of us attach different meanings to most of the words we say.

All that communication is:

1. You communicate something (verbally or non-verbally), as we established with a lot of information filtered out.

2. Someone hears it. This is assuming the person is actually listening, which is a problem to many. However, also here  there is a lot of information simply filtered out. For them each you word say, may have a completely different meaning in their map of the world.  On top of that, they choose to process only that information consciously that they choose to hear.

3. The other person feels something. Which is largely based on what the words said by you mean in their map of the world. And there are also different levels of emotional intelligence at play in each person you talk to. What is the level of understanding that this person has to understand their own emotion? Or yours? As well as the ability to understand what you intend to communicate, from your map of the world.

4. They communicate back to you, from their map of the world, filtering out information.

We inherently repeat the same chain, but then from your map of the world.

It is amazing we understand each other at all when you think of it.

For the methodology of NLP this subject is studied intently, and how this filtered information can be uncovered. For instance, if you are a coach, if someone were to tell you: “He hurt me.” It is completely unclear what is meant. The right questions need to be asked to uncover what got lost in communication. For more information about NLP: http://www.globalnlptraining.com

Always keep in mind, the meaning of your communication is the response that you get.

1 COMMENT

  1. Very well explained. I guess that you can’t not communicate, however it is what you are communicating to yourself and what you are communicating specifically to others that is important.

    So, you need to observe the other person to judge how your communication is being received, and therefore judge their response. I think that we do not all do that consciously, so that is really useful to know.

    Thank you.

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