Communicating can be the Devil

Written by  on June 30, 2004 

Communicating can be the Devil

We all have conversations every day but how many times do we actually think about the process…. and yes, I am talking about the boring subject of actually looking at how we communicate or the process of communication.

You see, communication is so much a part of our lives, so much a part of our very existence that it rules us far more than you would ever imagined. In fact, I would go as far as to say that bad communication is the reason for all our problems.

A big call indeed but if you follow the process of this subject of communication, it is a real eye opener!

To start with, let’s look at the perfect communication cycle. This is one that neither the originator of the communication or the recipient has any “hang ups” on. There is no reaction occurring just a giving and receiving of a free communication

Now what about when anything else happens?

Well this is where everyone is courting disaster. Think about an argument you have had. Both from the originator and the recipient… and yes, you might have to admit to yourself that you originated an argument or two. These arguments are nothing more than misunderstood or not understood communication. If you both understood each other there would be no hang up. But because you are coming from differing points of view and neither one of you are willing to grant the other any, or only some, beingness, the cycle hangs in the air.

Now this is where the trouble gets worse. If you have another one of these mis-communications, the feelings and reactions just compound. Previous similar situations suddenly have importance and instead of dealing with what is happening right here and now, you and/or the other person bring up other times. Now it has become, not just a matter of dealing with this cycle of communication, it now has, added to it, other mis-communications. It is these mis-communications that pull us out of the present and affect us in the present.

We can recall in an instant, a time of stress, pain or suffering we have experienced. We can recall when someone hung up the phone on us or when we were misunderstood. These are all incomplete cycles of communication.

What also adds to our communication woes is the fact that although we think that someone is duplicating our communication (understanding it exactly as we intend) quite often this isn’t the case. This also works in reverse; quite often we misunderstand the originators communication. Think of times that you have walked away from a meeting wondering what it was all about.

Misunderstandings cause us to loose concentration too; we get stuck at that point of not understanding. Like a word we don’t know the meaning of. Ever wonder why so many people have trouble around computers? People call themselves computer illiterate, well it would be closer to the mark to say that they have accumulated many mis or not understood words around the subject of computers… and who can blame them with so much “lingo” devised entirely for computers.

Our communications work while we have understanding and agreement around the subject we are communicating about. You could say that complete understanding is brought about by having the same reality, a liking towards, and the ability to communicate with another. If one of these points falls over or is lessened, so too do the other points fail which results in a lessening of the understanding.

When a person understands our communication completely it disappears. It is complete. It becomes part of our experience but we are free of any lingering thoughts, reactions or feeling that something has been left unsaid.

When it isn’t duplicated or we have the feeling that it isn’t duplicated, we become at the mercy of it. We wonder about it. We find we have reactions occurring. It doesn’t disappear, it hangs there and we can even stew over it.

Unwanted communication is the same. We aren’t expecting it and it throws us. Think about the time you were confronted by someone over some issue. Now if you can separate out the communication that happened at the time, what else happened for you? What reactions occurred inside you? Fear, anger, confusion, upset. Now were these totally the result of this communication or an accumulation of previous communications “hanging” there.

Now communication can be too forceful, it can render a living thing unconscious or dead. Being hit by a car would be an example of too forceful a communication. It can also be too light in which case we miss the communication altogether. Sometimes our attention can be on something else and so if the communication is too light it doesn’t register and the fall out can be disheartening to say the least.

So, as you can see, communication at its best is perfect and at its worst is life threatening. Gaining a healthy balance is a matter of making sure that we have complete communications with others. In other words we want to listen intently, acknowledge their communication so they know it is understood and we should expect the same from others. Of course this last part may be the most difficult part to achieve.

For the non-believers, or if you are reacting here to what I have written, I apologise. I really don’t want to be responsible for your reactions to communication. But then again, they are your reactions….

The next part of this mis-communication cycle is where you are doing something you feel you shouldn’t be doing and someone walks past or says something and you aren’t sure if they noticed you doing this action or not. Now it doesn’t actually matter whether they noticed or not, but you are left in this “don’t know if they know”. It’s a terrible place to be in. It’s another case of you “hanging in the moment”

Just think of times as a child when you were “nearly caught”. The fact that you remember such a time is a good example of the effect these times have on you. It shows just how much effect these can have right now, especially if you get hot flushes of embarrassment, thinking about it.

Nearly caught is worse than being caught. If you are caught, you do the sentence, do the time and its over but if you are nearly caught, you live with it for the rest of your time. This is another time when this occurrence also accumulates as time goes on… another “nearly caught” compounds the feelings and reactions. You get critical, you react, and you do everything but actually confess you were doing something you felt was wrong.

Also think of times when you were “nearly” hit by a car. The amount of people who scream and shout when they were nearly hit… wait a minute, they weren’t hit, not a scratch. They might as well have been a mile away for all the damage that was done but here they are complaining that they were “nearly hit”

So there we go, a brief introduction into the process of mis-communication and the art of communicating. In this world of rush, rush, rush, it is good to reflect on the process we use to communicate.

If we can move towards listening generously, telling the truth about what we hear and asking for the person’s best, all with advocacy and championing as the backdrop, we might actually bring about a better environment. We can grow our own abilities in this area by reviewing our beliefs and practices and then making the appropriate changes or adjustments.

till next week

cheers… Bill

Bill Gray

Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.

Sydney, Australia

Ph +61 413 949 521

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