Human interaction requires communication, which we cannot avoid no matter how hard we try. Although it might appear to be a simple task, the reality is much more complicated. This blog post explores the underlying forces that influence our interpersonal interactions while highlighting the complexities of interpersonal communication and common misunderstandings.
Communication Is Unavoidable for Us.
Contrary to popular belief, verbal exchange is not the only form of communication. There are many other factors as well, such as our posture, gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Even when we make an effort not to communicate, we still send signals. We surprisingly talk all the time, even while we sleep! It is critical to understand that people evaluate us based on our actions, not our intentions. Despite the fact that we occasionally wish they could, they cannot read our minds.
Reset button absent from communications
Nothing can be taken back once it has been said. Everybody has moments when they wishes they had spoken more carefully. The truth is that once spoken, words have no chance of being taken back and have long-lasting effects. It is not possible to completely negate the impact of a statement, even with a judge’s instructions to the jury.
Communication Can Be Difficult
Due to the numerous variables involved, what initially appears to be a straightforward exchange can quickly become complex. According to research, every communication involves at least six ‘characters’. These characters encompass how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we believe others see us. In addition, complexity is increased by the exchange of symbols for ideas rather than actual ideas. Words and symbols don’t have set definitions, and different people will interpret them in different ways.
The Humor of Failure in Communication
As the communication theorist Osmo Wiio humorously pointed out:
- “If communication can fail, it will.”
- “If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just that way which does the most harm.”
- “There is always somebody who knows better than you what you meant by your message.”
- “The more communication there is, the more difficult it is for communication to succeed.”
These phrases are not principles but remind us humorously of the challenges in achieving effective communication.
Context is King in Communication
Finally, it’s essential to recognize that communication doesn’t happen in isolation. Context plays a pivotal role:
- Psychological Context: Includes personality, values, needs, and desires.
- Situational Context: Addresses social behavior in different locations, such as a classroom versus a bar.
- Environmental Context: Pertains to factors like location, temperature, noise level, etc.
- Cultural Context: Encompasses beliefs, ideas, and rules that can lead to misunderstandings, such as differing views on eye contact.
The idea of communication is not one-dimensional; rather, it is a complex, multifaceted process that involves many nuances. Communication is both fascinating and difficult, from our inability to escape it to the humorously tragic truths presented by Wiio. It makes us consider our particular difficulties relating to others and asks us, “What’s your imperfection?”
We can strive to become more conscious communicators and appreciate the delicate art of interpersonal communication by understanding the dynamics at work.