Lesson 6 – Communication


Defining Communication

What is communication? It can be defined as sending and receiving messages however, understanding them properly is the key to excellent communication. Herewith the barriers that could stand between the audience and the speaker:

  • Noise
  • Language
  • Culture
  • Disinterest
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Emotion
  • Vocabulary
  • Mood

Here are two tips to break through these communication barriers

  • Empathy: Identify the communication barrier and emphasize accordingly.
  • Rephrasing/reframing: This gives you a chance to think of your response.

Remember the saying: “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that people never really listened to what he said; they only kept quiet out of courtesy. Every once in a while he would test his theory and say something like, “So good to see you. I murdered my grandmother this morning.” But he got more than he bargained for on one occasion when a woman nodded gravely before replying, “Mr. President, I’m sure she had it coming to her.”

The problem is that listening and hearing are two different things. Most of us were fortunate enough to be born with the ability to hear but listening is a skill that must be learned, practiced and perfected before it can be used successfully. Here are some tips:

  • Listen out for “names” during a conversation.
  • Listen with interest.
  • Do not make unnecessary assumptions.
  • Also try to listen to what is not being said.

Remember that when other people are listening to us, they have the same difficulties we do. Always be clear to the WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

Active Listening

Active listening has three stages:

  • Non-verbal communication
  • Cues
  • Paraphrasing, clarifying, summarizing

Here are some tips:

  • As people talk to you, mentally say to yourself: “Which means that…”
  • Be clear in your own mind what you hope to achieve.
  • Take the lead in conversations wherever possible. This gives you the upper hand, and puts you in the position to direct and guide the conversation as you see fit.
  • Make sure you understand the message clearly by using these six questions as your guide: why, what, where, when, who, how?
  • Also remember to: Talk less and listen more.
  • Make an effort to be silent more

Remember that when we deliver a message, only 7% of the message is our words. The rest is portrayed through our tone and our non-verbal body language.

(Source: Active Listening by Carl R. Rogers and Richard E. Farson)