It has been said that the meaning of communication is in the response we get. That is worth thinking about.

Usually we assume that if we have communicated something, through either speech, writing or action, other people will understand what we mean and act accordingly. But how often do we find that people don’t respond as expected?

That might be because the person for some reason just does not want to respond, but more often than not it is because they have misunderstood us. What we thought we communicated and what they received differ.

You may ask someone to complete an assignment. In your mind, you simply want the person to finish the assignment sometime in the near future. You are horrified to discover the person worked through the night to complete it for the next morning because they heard that you wanted the assignment completed immediately.

The meaning of our communication is not in what we say, but in how the other person responds. How they respond reveals what we actually communicated in spite of what we thought we said.

Professional listeners, such as counselors and coaches, often feed back to their clients what they have heard with phrases such as: “I understand that you are saying…” This ensures that they have heard what the person intended communicating.

It is a worthwhile exercise to use in any situation where communication is important. If you are speaking to someone, check to see they are hearing what you intend them to hear. And if you are listening to someone, tell them what you understand from what they have said. This not only gives them a chance to correct your perceptions if you have misunderstood, but has the advantage of making them realise that you have made the effort to listen to them – helping them feel good about themselves and about you.

Author:. Jonathan Payne is a leadership coach and inspirational speaker who has come across more people than he would care to who are looking for someone or something to take control of their lives for them. But he has also come across many, either in life or in their writings, contemporary and ancient, who live with backbone. These inspiring people have made their mark in the world, mostly by expecting others to live with backbone. It is this type of thinking which drives ... Go Deeper | Website

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