Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Future of Communication

Futurists are very often wrong. They see things in the future that never come to pass. That isn't all bad. It is good to consider the future and what might be. It can and should affect the way we act in the present. This prediction, The Future of Communication below is interesting and will provide you with an excellent beginning to your own consideration. Please keep in mind that it is generally agreed that futurists are generally wrong in their predictions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Communication Defined: 3

In their book, Communication: Principles for a lifetime, Beebe, Beebe and Ivy provided a workable definition for communication. ". . .communication is the process of acting on information." You know something and you share it with someone. They hear what you say and they act on it in some way. Those of us who are effective think about our communications so that the goals we have can be reached most effectively.

With such a broad definition you have to believe that the whole subject of communication must be very broad indeed. It is. Everything that you do and much of what you choose not to do is used by others determine something about who you are and what you stand for. We often try to deny that we can be so easily read, but the fact is that we read others just as well and move in their direction if what we see is congenial. So we say that communication is inescapable. In addition, it is irreversible. Once the idea is planted in another mind, there is nothing short of trauma that can remove it. That's why our mothers told us to always "put your best foot forward."

When you combine several elements of communication together, such as email, phone calls, observed actions, the impact of the communication becomes very complicated. Our communication, intended or not, takes on a life of its own and we are largely powerless to amend it. It is irreversible.

Communication should take up a very large portion of our energy everyday. It is the basic tool with which we build our lives and professions. Done carefully it will greatly aid us in achieving our goals. Done poorly, we will find ourselves saying things like, "I don't know what she sees in him? I'm at least as capable as he is."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Communication Defined: 2

If we define communication as the perfect reproduction of your idea in another mind, that is impossible. Everything about us was created by the sum of all our heredity and environment and since those vary from person to person, not even the words we use will have identical meanings.

This presents us with a difficult task. Since our experiences and language do not completely overlap, even in the closest of relationships, we need to take special precautions during our communication attempts. Put another way: say it over and over again using different words and actions. After a period of time they will begin to understand what you mean when you say, "I love you."

On the other side, if you really want to hear "I love you" from that special person your temptation will be to apply your meaning of those words to what they have said. Take it easy and slow down. Determine over time what the word love means to them. If we would take the time to experience how the other person means in general, we would have a much better idea of what they actually saying.

This puts "whirlwind" relationships of all kinds in to a safe perspective. Move, but move with caution and many words and actions. That way you will have a better idea of who they are and they will have a better idea of who you are.

Communication Defined: 1

This is not an easy definition. It appears to be an easy definition which is one of the biggest problems we have to face in communication. Outstanding minds have wrestled with this problem for years. This is what George Bernard Shaw had to say about it.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

That assumes that there is some sort of expectation involved in the process. "I said it and I expected them to . . ." and here you can fill in your own thought. When you ask for something concrete like "Please pass the salt," and you get the salt you have evidence that something took place: communication. What about areas that are distant or more abstract and what you expected doesn't happen. Then the assumption is that communication didn't occur.

Shaw's observation is very evident every day in most of our lives. We assume that the what we have said is understood in the way we expected to be understood and that certain specific result will occur. When they don't we assume that there has been a failure to communicate.

If you have power or authority and you "know you are perfectly clear" in your communication then you risk the assumption that communication has taken place. That can lead to fights, hurt feelings, war, and lots of negative things. Be cautious about assumptions and don't allow illusions to mess up your life.