Friday, 20 December 2013
No 1 myth of effective communication
Old Myth: "Communication is just an exchange of information and ideas. To get it right, you have to listen well and speak clearly."
New Principle: "Communication is made by complex patterns of interaction. To get the results you want, you have to learn the chemistry, physics, and design elements needed to re-make unwanted patterns. It is not about listening and speaking as much as it is about making the communication patterns that shape our working lives."*
I have written previously about the transmission and constructionist models of communication, and this myth basically summarizes the basic assumptions of those models. Although the idea might be simple and similar to most people, a lot of training and coaching still focus on practicing for example active listening or clear articulation.
These exercises can be helpful but in my opinion they are nothing more than nice techniques if one is not acknowledging the underlying elements of communication and what really goes on. In the end it's better to be curious instead of assuming.
* The myths and principles are citations from Sostrin, J. (2013) Re-Making Communication at Work.