Monday, February 11, 2008

Myths of Communication

Myths of Communication
Myths of communication are common misunderstandings about communication. When people believe these myths, they make mistakes in communication.
1. We communicate only when we want to communicate. FALSE
We communicate all day, every day, often without realizing it. As long as people can observe or hear us, they’re getting information from and forming opinions about us.

2. Words mean the same thing to both speaker and listener. FALSE

When Bala said she needed the third Saturday off, she thought she was being clear. Manoj thought he clearly understood. However, both of them attached entirely different meanings to the same set of words. Words hold different meanings for different people based on their experiences, perception, and interpretations.

3. We communicate chiefly with words. FALSE

Manoj communicated a great deal without using only words. He argued, slammed the phone, stormed out, muttered, threw the clipboard, glared, shouted, and replied sarcastically. And Bala clearly got his messages! In reality, we communicate most of our messages nonverbally. We use our tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and the way we sit or walk to communicate what we are feeling and to support the words we speak.
4. We believe what a person says, not how he or she says it. FALSE

When Manoj leaned back, covered his eyes with his hands, and replied sarcastically, “No problem, Bala. I’ll be happy to rearrange the schedule to suit your family’s needs,” do you think Bala really believed it would be no problem and that Manoj would be happy to do it? It’s not likely. She believed Manoj’s tone of voice and what she saw, not the words he spoke. When a person’s verbal message and nonverbal message don’t match, the listener will believe the nonverbal message.

5. Communication is a one – way flow of information from the speaker to the listener. FALSE

During their meeting, both Bala and Manoj spoke, listened, and responded to what the order has to say. Some people believe that communication is a speaker talking at a listener rather than with a listener. In reality, effective communication takes place when both individuals participate actively. They do this when the listener gives the speaker feedback. Feedback is a listener’s reaction to the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal communication. Feedback can be verbal, such as “I don’t understand what you mean,” or it can be nonverbal, such as scowling or shaking your head.

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