There are approximately 6900 languages currently spoken around the world, the majority of which have only a small number of speakers. The majority of us speak one of thirty of the most common languages, but whatever language you speak, your communication consists of verbal and nonverbal cues. The words you use convey information, logically reasoning concepts and ideas. However, your nonverbal cues ie body language, tonality and facial expressions are more emotionally driven and express how you really feel.
Communication is constantly happening around us in various different forms. The problem is we’re all so busy with life in general, we lose sight of whether we communicate effectively or not, and the impact it may have. How many of us have experienced miscommunication – either as the perpetrator or the recipient? A more appropriate question to ask is: how many times do we either miscommunicate to others or are miscommunicated to, on a daily basis?
You see the problem with communication is that we cannot, not communicate. Meaning that whether it’s direct or indirect, we are always saying something. Sometimes the loudest message is expressed through silence, and sometimes by shouting the loudest, we say the least.
Although we are all taught how to speak from an early age, we are not necessarily equipped to express more complex ideas later in life. As a species, we have evolved complex ways to communicate through various art forms, but at the end of the day, it’s all about self-expression. The problem with spoken language, is that it’s merely an approximation of how we feel, or an approximation of the ideas we’re trying to express, and we have to somehow find the right words, in the right tone that will resonate enough to get the message across.
Then we get into the more complex, but more honest, world of unconscious communication through body language, tone etc. and then we have to learn how to read and respond to that as well! Different people respond to different levels of communication, so we need to try and work all of that out at the same time! Exhausting stuff! The amount of energy involved in getting it right every time is huge, so it’s no wonder we sometimes get our wires crossed!
This can be a problem in all areas of life, but particularly if, as a leader, you are responsible for delivering a message that has to be understood, acted on and delivered by groups of people; all of whom may have a different filtering system, allowing different parts of the message to get across. So there has to be a level of common ground, that will allow the most important points to be universally understood, then we can drill down into the detail as we go.
If we all understood how we communicated to each other, and used it effectively, we could change the world! Imagine if there were no more misunderstandings, if there was a level of empathy and understanding in our communication with the view that we are all here just trying to do our best. The mysteries of life will still perplex us, but if we can at least learn how to communicate in ways that creates a certain amount of harmony, then surely our stay on this planet would be a lot easier all round!
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