Communication Is Not As Simple As It Appears

Talking is simple, right? After all, we all have been talking since we were little kids…babies even. We figure we’ve got this skill down. It’s simple.
I agree. Talking is simple. Communication, however, is not as simple as many of us think. In fact, it is quite complex. Failing to understand this complexity can lead to communication failures.

The Importance of Communication

We’ve discussed this importance in the past.  Most employers would list communication skills among the most important for new employees. Another skill absent in most applicants is problem-solving. Such skills are closely related to communication skills. Additionally, many companies have also identified these same skills as the most important skills for people looking to climb the corporate ladder.

Give a Little Thought to the Process

We need to take a little time to consider communication and its complexity if we are going to make it an asset and not a liability. Good communication does not just happen. It happens when we properly manage a number of variables that impact our conversation processes.

Interactions are Complex

It is important to remember that communication is a dynamic process. Each person involved in the conversation is impacted by what is communicated by the other party.

Smart Talk Model of Communication
Smart Talk Model

Let’s consider a “simple” scenario. Let’s say you call (or text) a friend about attending a sporting event that evening. You have already begun preparing for the conversation prior to picking up the phone. You have begun thinking about what you will say.  Additionally, you may have considered some persuasive arguments you might use. As you begin the telephone conversation your plans, ideas, and arguments will be impacted by your friend’s responses. You may begin to consider similar conversations you had in the past.  These may include conversations with this friend as well as others. Your friend is also working through processes during the conversation.
This is where it all becomes really complex. Two people with different personalities and experiences are using their own processes to listen and understand what the other person is sharing with them. Unfortunately, we often assume that other people are more like us than they really.  Further, we assume they are using similar processes. We can summarize the complexity this way. Communication “is a circular, symbolic interaction in which ache communicator affects the behavior of the other.”(1)

Simplifying the Complex

Intelligent Communication seeks to simplify the complex. The Smart Talk model is our effort to help guide people to understand the complexities of communication. The model reminds us to consider the other person’s thoughts and feelings, both before and during the interaction.
If you would like to know more about Intelligent Communication and the Smart Talk model check out more of the blog.  You will find a number of articles specifically about our simplifying approach to communication.  If you would like to discover how Intelligent Communication may help your company/organization contact me at the phone/email in the sidebar.
A good first step in simplifying communication might be to follow my favorite advice:  be swift to hear, slow to speak.
(1) Applbaum, Ronald L. and Karl W.E. Anatol, Strategies for Persuasive Communication. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill, 1974, p. 11.

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