Sunday, 6 November 2011

Back to basics

From time to time I like going back to the basics of communication: what is it all about, what are the different communication models, etc.? Sometimes what is taken as basic might seem like self-evident but I find it as the most fantastic thing, and mostly the hardest one to truly understand.

For instance, one of the sentences sometimes taken for granted is ”interpretation is created in the mind of the other” which means that whatever I say or do the meaning of it is highly dependant on how the other interprets it. So what? I think we still in most cases act in a way that supports the early information transfer model of communication presented by Shannon and Weaver in 1949 . The idea of the model is: I expect my idea to transfer as such to the other person, and he understands it completely. And if it seems like he didn’t get it, I try to explain it over and over again and finally get angry ”didn’t you just hear what I said, how many times I need to repeat this?”.

But what if we truly applied the idea of ”interpretation is created in the mind of the other” into action, how would we then act? How would our conversations look like? If we started the whole conversation with an understanding that the other person interprets things based on his stories and experiences, would we then be more curious about those stories? Would we then be able to at least partly forget our own agendas and truly listen to others? 

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