The Myth of Communication
By McCall Jones — Founder & CEO, Institute for Adult Communication
The Institute for Adult Communication looks at ways to improve individual and organizational communication to produce more effectiveness and more satisfaction. This matters at home and in the office.
Put simply, The Myth of Communication looks like this: “Yeah, I am a great communicator!”
For a very long time, I have been listening to people say that the secret to a successful relationship is “COMMUNICATION”.
Which I happen to agree with.
BUT…when I would ask people “what does ‘communication’ mean to you?”, many people answered that it was “openness” or “honesty” and right now the catch phrase is “Authentic Communication”.
So then I asked, “what does that look like?” What does ‘honest’ or ‘open’ communication’ look like?” …and that is when I started to get all these puppy dog faces; wide-eyed, tilted heads. And I began to see that inspite of people believing that they were great communicators, most people are — and let’s be honest — pretty bad at communicating. Now, does this mean most people don’t have good intentions? No. Most people are sincere and do their absolute best. The sad part is, being successful at communicating is an extremely complex process that we unfortunately no longer take serious as a culture. We have forgotten what the mechanics of communication are. We have reduced communication to if we say something, whatever comes out of our mouths is “communication”. We are so convinced that its THIS simple that we are baffled and frustrated when it doesn’t work. So, what do we do? We blame the other person for not understanding us. We blame them for not listening, for not caring, for being lazy, for not loving us or not loving us enough.
So, what is actual GOOD communication? A writer will tell you that to be a writer at all you must first KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Why would that be any different when speaking, dancing with a partner or working on a project? So…if that is so obvious, why do so few people try to get to “know their audience”? For starters, we are just beginning to understand that we are not “all the same” after all (as social science academics would have us believe) and that any given person needs to hear things in a certain way before they can accept a communication as being true or useful. A person’s personality type is a clue to how they perceive and navigate the world AND a solid clue as to how they need to be communicated with.
This reality can be sliced and diced in so many different ways, it will make your head spin. For example, men and women not only communicate differently but also have entirely different reasons for communicating at all. Men generally communicate to “make a point” while women generally communicate to make or maintain a connection with the another person or persons.
Then there are people who focus on knowledge and fact and those who focus on nurturing and connecting, and those who are doers and those who’s job in life it is to enforce standards and assess the performance of others. Each of these individuals has a different set of values, morals, ethics and way of doing things. Additionally they each have their own way of listening and communicating.
Does this begin to paint a picture on how difficult communication can be? And how important being effective at it is?
Maybe you are also beginning to see that communication may just be a subject worth getting to know more about.
Let’s start a national dialogue on better communication.
Visit us at www.instituteforadultcommunication.com.
Let’s get started!