Ever since my long-ago youth, I wondered how I could determine if what I described as, say, blue was the same thing that someone else described with the same word. Was it possible that despite our common-sense approach that said that we all were using the same terminology, we really weren’t communicating at all?
This specific conundrum came up in a recent article, that shows that I was basically on the right track: Communications are not always as simple as we’d like them to be.
In my usual way, this got me thinking about communications in other areas, as well. I like to think of myself as a consummate communicator: I formulate my thoughts and ideas, consider how best to bring them forth in spoken or written words, and transfer appropriate meaning to my audience.
Alas, I find that too often my intentions are not made manifest in the desired transfer of information owing to a plethora of reasons, including lack of common vocabulary, inattention on my part or that of my audience, addition of “noise” to the “signal” (for whatever the reason), and more.
How, then, to ensure that the message sent is the message received?
I’ll leave that as an exercise for the student.
But, if you figure it out, please let me know.
Questions: How can you know that what you’re sending is what is being received? What steps can you take to ensure clean transfer of information? How might your life—professional, personal, or both—be affected by a lack of communications? How could it be enhanced by cleaning up the “signal?”