What is Communication
What is communication without understanding? Idle chatter.
communication really about? When you mention
communication many people think of talking, but there is far more to it.
Communication is the most powerful tool in life. Proper communication can handle just about every problem people have.
Your success in life depends to a large extent on how well you use this valuable
tool. Everybody communicates to some degree, most do it very poorly. If you were
to bluntly tell them that, they would probably get quite upset. You would get a
response like "I know how to talk." Talking or writing are only part of
Most people will easily recognize that there are
many different forms of communication. Apart from the written or spoken word,
what are some of the easily seen communications? One of the most obvious is body
language. There have been whole studies on this one area, how a person holds
themselves, how they move, did they cross their arms and so on. That is an
interesting subject but not one you have to learn to be successful.
I am talking more about the commonly used body language, a smile or frown,
laughter, crying, a shrug of the shoulders, these often communicate better than
words. Even in foreign countries a person can make themselves understood with
The arts are another form of communication. The painter, musician, dancer, all
have an idea or feeling that they want to get across to you. How well they do it
depends on their expertise. When you start to notice you will find even more
ways that people communicate. Architects and designers are trying to get their
ideas noticed. Signs, billboards and even traffic signals are all
Communication in Society
If communication is so important why don't people
learn to do it properly? Because we have been doing it all of our lives we
seldom pay attention to it. All too often we will keep doing something wrong, or
not quite right, because we don't know that it is not right, that's the way it
has always been done. A poor driver will usually tell you the accidents or
traffic tickets were bad luck or the other guys fault. One of the hardest things
for us poor humans to do is to admit we are doing something wrong or that we
don't know how to do it properly.
What is communication like in
our society? I invite you to look around and notice the upsets, broken homes and
marriages, the alienated people, drug abuse, crime, wars the seemingly endless
problems our societies have. Most of them could have been handled with good,
high level communication.
"My husband doesn't understand me, my
parents don't understand me, kids never listen, society doesn't understand
me.........." Sound familiar? Communication and understanding go hand in hand.
Without good communication there is no understanding.
always find a way to communicate their feelings eventually, a punch on the nose
will certainly let someone know that there is an upset. When good communication
is not used then poor communication will occur. Often it will take time to build
up, a divorce is communication, a bloody revolution is the result of a
governments failure to communicate.
You will sometimes hear "I
don't understand, I gave them everything." The one thing they did not give was
Parts of Communication
communication? Let us break it down into its component parts. I will mainly use
verbal communication but you will see how it fits with other methods. What are
you trying to achieve when you have a conversation. This is not a "hi, how are
you?", that is not a full communication, it is just an acknowledgement of the
other persons presence. It is a good start, because you need to get their
You have an idea, thought or emotion that you
want to convey to someone (or many people). Get their attention, for example
"You know I have been thinking" or just saying their name. Are they ready to
receive what you are going to say? You should get some response, it might just
be that they look at you and murmur something. Then you state whatever it is you
want to tell them.
The next step is important. Did they
understand what you said? That may sound silly at first, they speak the same
language don't they? It is quite possible that you did not say exactly what is
on your mind, you may not even fully know yourself until further communication
Good communication is a two or more way flow. You have
probably suffered through a one sided conversation, it is very uncomfortable.
What is their communication really telling you? They might just as well say "I
am not interested in you and your opinions are unimportant." YUK!
On the listening side, try to understand what is being
said and give a response that shows you understood. If you have not fully got
what they were talking about then keep the conversation going until you do
Good and Bad
Here is an example (simplified).
Little boy: "Mom, you promised to take me for ice cream."
Mother: "I'm busy right now."
"But you promised!"
"I told you, I am busy. Go and play"
"You promised, you promised". Followed by a whole bunch of screaming, an
upset mother and a boy sent to his room in tears. You get the idea.
Unfortunately if this kind of communication continues the boy could become destructive or otherwise hard to
handle. What is his communication? "I will get your attention, one way or
So what exactly happened? First, the mother was not ready
or willing to accept the communication. Next the boy did not say exactly what he
was thinking about (as you will see later). Finally the mother never did find
out what he really wanted to communicate.
A more correct
"Mom you promised to take me for ice cream"
"I'm busy right now, but there is ice cream in the fridge." This shows that she has heard him and
answered what she thought he was talking about.
"But you promised!" Now he is getting a little growly. This is an indication that she has not fully understood his communication.
"You are right, I did promise and people should keep their promises right?" Now she is finding out what he really wanted.
"Well I am really busy, how about we get some ice cream from the fridge for now, then when I am finished we can go out. Would that be OK?"
Now if they have always had good communication the boy would be quite happy
with that answer. He might even say that it was OK, they could go another day.
The important thing here is that with a little more communication she understood
what was really on his mind, the broken promise, and addressed that.
Communication and Upsets
Often when a person has a problem or an upset they don't know exactly what it
is. When it is fully talked out and understood by both people the upset often goes
away without any other action taken. What is communication without
understanding, idle chatter.
If you are having problems or upsets with someone then it may be time to check
what is your communication really about. It is so easy to lose real
communication when people get angry but that is when it needed the most.
Another thing you should notice, in
the second example the mother was quite willing to take responsibility for her
mistake. Be a good listener, allow the other person to say what they want
without getting upset or judgmental. You may not agree with what they are saying
but you should at least understand it and let them know. This way it is possible
to agree to disagree. Communication is the foundation on which to build
Well this has been a long page, I am glad
that you stuck with it and I hope it helps you.
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