Communication is in the ear of the beholder

Interesting post by Chuck Martin entitled Check What Was Heard, Not What Was Said. In it he claims that most organisation communication issues are not caused by the fact that the message wasn’t transmitted correctly, but that the listener may apply some sort of bias/interference/interpretation to the communication that is being relayed; much like the game of Telephone. The way to avoid this problem, rather than making sure the message is communicated clearly, is to ensure that the recipient has understod the meaning of the message they are listening to.

While the post is quite interesting, there’s a lot more insight to be gathered by the comments to the article. I think the most poignant is a comment by Kelly McDermott where the shares her view:

Communication is about the kinship between speaker and listener, not just the information exchanged.?

There is definite truth in that statement, as you will find that the interference applied to the message tends to vary from one person to another, and someone who disrupts the message is likely to disrupt it again in the future. In my opinion, the way to avoid this problem is to watch out for problems and look for patterns of interference. This also helps identify who can and cannot be trusted to communicate a message successfully.

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