"Don't part with your dreams - when they are gone you may still exist but you will have ceased to live" - Mark Twain

"Do you know that this blog wouldn't exist if it wasn't for you being here to read it!?" - Bobby Gill

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Communication - Who's Responsible?

'Communication' is derived from the Latin word 'communis', which means 'to make common' and thus 'to make known', the same thing.  So the communication depends on our ability to understand the other person's point of view.
Good communication skills are necessary to creating and maintaining strong friendships, networks and contacts.

When you say something, it includes all your experience and filters.  When the message is received, it is perceived through the experience/filters of the person listening (and through their thoughts and little voice) before it is decoded by them.  You then get a response which shows if your message was received as it had been intended.
It helps if you speak in terms the other person will understand and you can elicit this by asking questions.

For good communication it requires both parties to actively listen, ask questions, answer them and respect the other person's model of the world.

With regards to the communication of the message, is it your responsibility or theirs?
Who is responsible for the perception and decoding?

What are the blocks to communication?
Not listening, not asking questions, not answering questions and forcing your model of the world on the other person.

Sometimes people say they want things but they really don't.  Questions are the best way to find out information. Their responses to questions and actions give them away.  If someone truly wanted something and was willing to accept your help, they'd listen to you and be prepared to give it a go - as it might get them the results they want.  When they won't answer the questions, start making excuses (disguised as reasons), then they are more committed to the way things are than to change.

Also people always know better themselves, from experience and are happier to continue doing what they've always done. It does mean they'll always get what they've got but that doesn't matter as it is easier and right to be that way for them.  They prefer their experience, model and what they 'know' to be true more than being open to any new information.

In practice coaching sessions with others, the instructor might have told you to be a good client - but what happens when someone chooses not to be a good client or prefers to make things hard - is the failing yours or theirs?

Have you ever noticed how family and loved ones and those close to you seem to ignore what you say?
Yet if a stranger comes up and says something you've already mentioned they are more likely to action or believe it.  Of course this only applies once they've established 'some' basic trust with those strangers.

It's not that they don't care, they have just taken you for granted because it is 'you' and that's the way you always are.  The other people and 'strangers' - who they don't know well enough to realise they are humans too and no better (or worse) than you or I.  

On a sidenote: I realised a while ago there is no point in helping someone who does not want your help. This decision made life so much easier and should be something that everyone thinks about carefully.

In coaching they say you should 'sack' your clients that don't want to be held accountable and make things difficult.  With family it's not so easy to 'sack' them.

The easier way to deal with these situations is to spend less time discussing matters with those that have taken you for granted.  Then next time you communicate they may value what you have to say more, if they've missed you.
If they don't though, then no worries.  They might eventually 'sack' you if you're lucky!

Do your best to communicate the best way you can and don't take the responsibility for the other people you talk to.  Like dancing it takes two to tango and have a meaningful communication!

Want people to listen? From the example of my friend Silent Bob - it might be best to talk less and only speak when it's important.  Then what you say will have a huge impact!
Jay of course disagrees but he's not a very good listener either.

(Here's a clip for Kevin Smith fans, expletives are for shock value only)