How do we judge good communication? Change Masters helps people think about how to craft their message based on OPPOV™ and how to deliver the message effectively. Clear, concise and compelling messages that address the needs of the listener are the objective. It is a noble objective.
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – is often attributed to Robert McCloskey (Author). He must have heard it from my mother who often made that statement. Her version was slightly different, and she could say it at about 500 words per minute.
Even a totally accurate message, clearly stated, may not be successful.
- The listener may interpret what is heard through a filter of distrust.
- They may have missed part of what you said, or not listened at all.
- The listener may not understand your context or terminology.
- You may not have been as clear as you thought.
The best measure of successful communication is what the listener understands after the communication is completed. The act of transferring our message in our brain …
… going through our filters into visual and vocal utterances in the form of light and sound …
… received by the eyes and ears of another person …
… to be filtered and translated into an accurate concept in the receiver’s brain …
… is unbelievably complex. It is amazing that we are able to communicate at all.
Those who have an appreciation for just how challenging it is to transfer knowledge and concepts from one person to another are likely to be the best communicators … where the listener understands the speaker’s concept.
One of the best bridges to good communication is mutual trust. The wrong words may still communicate the right meaning when there is high trust. When there is low trust, almost no words can bridge the gap to shared understanding.
If someone else does not understand what we are trying to say, the first place to look for responsibility is in the mirror. Assume positive intent and work together to bridge the gap. Your communication is not successful until it is understood.
Remember the quote from Robert McCloskey… and my mother.