As Joan Rivers Said: Can We Talk?

CLEAR COMMUNICATIONCan we talk? Or as Joan Rivers would say: Can we tawk?

But seriously,communication is the bedrock of relationships among humans. I’ll repeat that for emphasis. Communication is the bedrock of relationships amongst humans.

So if you think relationships amongst humans are important and if your relationships could perhaps use a bit of tweaking, please read on. You just might find some little gem of wisdom that can potentially turn things around for you 360 degrees.

What is our main mode of communication? Words. obviously there is touch and sex and gesture and body language and facial expression and eye contact and smiling. But for the purpose of this piece, I will focus on verbal communication, with the main tool being words.

If you are feeling like your relationships are sub par, perhaps a good question to ask yourself is this: How can I improve my communication skills?

In order to fully understand a process,  it’s  helpful to break that process down into it’s component parts.

For communication to happen there must be a minimum of 2 people involved. We can describe these 2 people as a speaker and a receiver or listener. I prefer to use the word receiver because it invokes the idea of radio waves literally being transmitted and received electronically. Something similar must happen between 2 people, using words as the medium, in order for communication to happen.

So how can something so seemingly simple, go awry? Obviously there are a million ways to screw up communication. I’m sure everyone reading this has been there and done that. There is no need for me to spell it out.

I prefer to focus on one small but critical area of communication, the role of the receiver. And I have a question to throw out at you for your contemplation.

Imagine the following scenario between a speaker and a receiver. Imagine how communication would change if the receiver engaged in the following behavior:

Every time the receiver was not fully understanding what the speaker was saying, the receiver would interrupt the speaker and say: “I’m sorry but I am not fully getting what you are saying.”

Just imagine for a moment, if this were to happen globally, how it might change everyone’s communication.

And obviously there are many possible reasons why a receiver of words may not be fully absorbing their meaning.  I will outline a few of these reasons”

  • Defensiveness – Cannot take it in for some reason
  • Denial – This is similar to defensiveness
  • Non-comprehension – This may take place if the speaker is speaking over the receiver’s head on a subject in which the receiver has little or no knowledge
  • Boredom – The receiver is bored to tears and cannot follow the conversation
  • Fatigue – The receiver is tired of listening to this person drone on and on and has literally fallen asleep
  • Lack of focus – The receiver is pre-occupied at the moment and cannot focus on what the speaker is saying
  • Can’t hear – The speaker is mumbling or slurring words or speaking way too fast and the receiver is not comprehending the words

OK, so I’ve outlined some of the pitfalls that may occur as seen from the receivers point of view.

And now again, I ask you to imagine, if every time the receiver stopped receiving the speakers’s message, what would happen if the receiver interrupted for a moment and said, “I’m sorry but I am just not getting what you are saying.

How many of us actually take the time to do this? Or do we just pretend to be listening, pretend to be  absorbing or even worse we pretend to be hanging on every word! Meanwhile we have completely zoned out!

Although my short essay on communication has only just scratched the surface of what might possibly be going wrong in your current situation, I believe it’s worth taking a bit of time to reflect on what I’ve said and see if any doors open for you, in your mind.

And if  you’re serious about making changes . . . . .
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