Effective Communication



Communication is the act of gracefully transmitting messages and ideas. Communication involves a variety of behaviors, processes (digital, symbolic, analogical, etc.), and technologies by which meaning is transmitted or derived from information. The term comes from the Latin communicate, which means to “share,” “impart” or “partake.” This, in turn, is derived from communis, meaning “common.” The implication is that the purpose of communication is the creation of a common understanding.

According to Weaver and Shannon (1948), all communication is concerned with three problems:

(1) how accurately the symbols of communication can be transmitted, (2) how precisely the symbols carry the intended meaning, and (3) how effectively the received meaning affects behavior in the desired way. Cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener (1948) introduced the concept of “feedback” as an essential element of effective communication, which he deduced from observations of interactions between humans, animals, and the physical environment. Weiner described the many ways in which organisms modify their own behavior to correct for adverse reactions to some other aspect of their behavior. In communication, feedback is typically a verbal or visual cue that indicates whether the message has been received and correctly interpreted; it may be a nod of the head, a slap in the face, or a question.

The map is not the territory.

  1. People do not respond to reality but to their own map of reality.
  2. Each person has his or her own individual model of the world.
  3. The more you know about someone’s model of the world, the more you will be able to effectively communicate with that person.

The value of your communication is the message that is received, not the message that was intended or sent.

The richer your map of the world is, the more choices you will have and the easier it will be to communicate with others.

Feedback is essential for effective communication.

There is some positive intent behind every behavior or response, even if that intention is not clear in the behavior or response.

Some Goals of Effective Communication:

Get people to respond to what you meant or what you wanted, not just what you said.

Develop the acuity to be able to adjust the second half of your sentence based on the feedback you received to the first half of your sentence.

Widen the solution space to be greater than the problem space.












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