#Verizon Wireless has a commercial that has been around for several years with a cell signal tester walking around hundreds of places asking, "Can you hear me now?" and then saying, "Good." We don't really know what the person on the other end of the line said. All we know for sure is that he asked the question and was then happy with the answer or lack of answer that he got. Communication is much the same way for some people. There are a number of people that are perfectly content with simply throwing their message out there and not getting, or not caring about, the response from the listener(s). Communication, even in a mass setting, is not intended to be one-sided. It is intended to be interactive, complex, symbolic, and completely unavoidable.
It is interactive in that true communication isn't happening unless there is a sender, a receiver, and a channel through which the message travels. The premise of the real story on communication is that the sender creates and encodes (puts their own meaning into) a message. That message is then sent via a channel to a receiver, or to lots of receivers. Ideally, the sender has considered the needs and past experiences of the receiver(s) in order to ensure that his/her message is easily received, decoded, and understood. It is also important to consider what channel is the best based on the sender's target audience. When the receiver gets the message, they interpret or decode it by apply the meaning that they have placed on past, similar, experiences to this instance. They then send feedback to the original sender which will verify whether or not the intended message was correctly understood.
This process is a circular flow of communication from sender through a channel to the receiver and back through a channel to the original sender. Hearing a person has more to do with understanding the intent of the message than it does hearing the actual words that are said. When we put meaning behind the tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions, we are decoding the message and making it mean something to us. The only way that the original sender knows if they were effective is to receive feedback. So, just like "Verizon Man," we are continuously watching and listening to the people that we are interacting with in order to truly know...
Can you hear me now?
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Jody is a writer, motivational speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has been the keynote speaker at over 250 events around the world. Jody speaks more than 150 times per year at different programs, and he has given more than 10,000 speeches during his career.