Observing Contributions

By Elmar Dornberger

Versión en Español

I have been involved with ViSi tech for a couple of years now and I am still learning about the complexity of Michael Blumenstein’s thinking.

What I would like to talk about today is a small part and yet has had a profound impact on my communication and interaction with others. The subject of “Contributions”.

With “contribution” I mean how we are interacting with others and how they interact with us, individually or in a group. Our participation, sharing, playing a part in, …

We do understand now through science that we all have our own filters of perception, or neurotransmitters that process any given information through our five senses; hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling.

So anything I contribute goes through someone else’s filters. What they actually perceive is not in my control and not transparent to me, since I am on the outside of their perception. I give the signal, maybe in stereo, their receiver might be tuning in on mono (because of another channels being used for something else they are receiving simultaneously), like a crying baby, or the TV playing, or another conversation happening in an other part of the room. It could also be as simple as the other person having an internal dialog with themselves; “what should I cook for dinner?”, “man, this guy is really boring me with this theoretical stuff”.

So here I am with my good intentions of enlightening this person and I have no idea if it is landing. Even if someone is nodding their head or answers with “oh yes, of course”. So how do we know if something has landed? I would say one indication could be if the ball comes back, so to speak. Like playing ping pong, the game is really only interesting if the ball goes back and forth. Of course sometimes we want to win and we don’t want to ball to come back. If that happens to often then no one wants to play with us anymore. Then we end up like Forrest Gump playing against the wall, all by ourselves.

In order for relationships to deepen and be satisfying we have to observe our contributions and the way we contribute. Listening carefully is often more important than speaking. Is the response that I am getting in line with my contribution or way off. By in line I don’t mean in agreement but matching the sentiment of my communication.

I find myself often assuming that the other person understood my contribution by thinking I understand their cues of body language or verbal acknowledgements. Later I notice that their actions don’t reflect my intentions. So I have become more keen in checking in at the moment when I contribute.

Of course this is still an ongoing process and I am still learning on a daily basis, to listen, observe and check in with myself and the other.

Thank you Michael B. for all your contributions.