Misconceptions of Communication Skills #1

The Misconceptions of Communication Skills

Misconception #1: We consciously choose all we communicate.

Who has not heard the aphorism ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ Or ‘Your actions speak louder than words?’ I would challenge that the messages we are sending are even more complicated than the words we choose and the things we choose to do.

What is missing from the everyday understanding of communication is the unconscious or unknown.

Consider that with every message you exchange with another person are many dimensions including: 1) the words you choose as the sender of the message; 2) your actions (including body language); 3) your unconscious assumptions, values, beliefs, biases (in effect, the unconscious worldview); 4) the unknown assumptions, values, beliefs, biases (the unknown worldview) of the receiver of the message; and 5) the context of the exchange.

The average professional focuses mostly on the conscious or known elements of communication in their organization: the words and actions of the sender. We fool ourselves into thinking we are being clever because we consider both the formal and informal communication modes, but do not consider there is another layer hidden beneath: the unconscious message.

That is why many communications are misunderstood. We have a different impact than we intended. We are not consciously choosing the full message and we are not able to know (consciously) the full worldview of the receiver and thus can not fully know the impact.

The most difficult reality of these unknown dimensions is that we do not have control over them. There are assumptions and biases we have that may not be uncovered until after we observe our impact. We may not be able to know the unknown of the receiver – ever! Are we ready for that? Can we handle not having control over our message? How do we recognize what we can change and what we can’t?

The presentationYOU program takes into consideration these dimensions and helps you increase your awareness of your own and others worldview and manage the angst of not having control of it all.

Next time: Misconception #2 (hint: it’s more than pretty slides)