The Challenge of Communication

Communication is a critical skill to effectively live our lives in conjunction with other people.  Whether your role is leading people, working on a team, being a partner or a front line worker, communication knowledge and skills are a foundational competency to increase effectiveness, decrease stress, and improve bottom line results. Communication is the foundation to effective relationship development

Imagine two computers trying to share information.  Each computer has its unique hardware and software configuration allowing it to interpret information that fits its unique specifications.  If the data sent fits the configuration, the data is received, understood and a response is generated.  If the data received is not in a consistent format with the receiving computer, the data is not understood, an error message is generated or, worse yet, a response is generated that misinterprets the data received.

Our human communication works much the same way.  Our brain, similar to the computer, has a set of hardware and software based on our genetics, the environment, our experiences, values, skills, language, definition of words, etc.  When we send the message to another person (e.g. computer) the message is received in their hardware and software based on their genetics, environment, experiences, values, skills, language, definition of words, etc.  The likelihood that the two systems are exactly the same is impossible!!

My brother is one year younger than I.  We have the same genetics and family environment.  I recently asked him about a vacation we both experienced when he was 6 and I was 7.  You would have thought were on two different vacations!  The memories were very different.  So, even if you have the same hardware and software, the computers may still be very different.

What challenges have you had with communication?


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