Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to Overcome Communication Mismatch

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 

ARE YOU IN SYNC WITH THE PERSON YOU ARE COMMUNICATING WITH...?


MENTAL FILTERS AND COMMUNICATION MISMATCH
By
VIKRAM KARVE


THE 6 MESSAGES IN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION

Suppose you are talking to someone 
 say your colleague  or your spouse – or your kid  or your friend – or even a stranger. 

Communication is a 
two way process

Assume that there are two of you talking to each other 
– engaging in interpersonal communication. 

Now 
 when you speak to someone – you will be watching her – and observing her body language  and similarly  she in turn will be doing the same.

So interpersonal communication will comprise not only verbal speech 
– but non-verbal cues as well. 

Let us assume that 
– you say something to the person in front of you – and she says something back to you in reply. 

There will be six messages present in this person-to-person communication process:

1. What you MEAN to say

2. What you ACTUALLY say

3. What the other person HEARS

4. What the other person THINKS is heard

5. What the other person SAYS

6. What you THINK the other person says


Interpretation of Communication (deriving messages from a communication) depends on many factors 
– ranging from intellectual to emotional to cognitive  all these factors form your MENTAL FILTER.

How you interpret a communication depends on your mental filters at that point of time 
– which  apart from your intellectual, emotional and cognitive aspects  is also governed by various factors  like your mood, quality and type of relationship with the other person – and  the environment in which the communication is taking place.

And 
 it is similar for the other person talking to you.

In order to reduce communication mismatch 
 it is essential that your mental filter is in sync with the person talking to you – and vice versa

Otherwise 
– there will be ambiguities in the messages exchanged – and this may have undesirable ramifications  and  at times  may even lead to discord and conflict.


AN EXAMPLE OF HOW MENTAL FILTERS DISTORT MESSAGES IN A COMMUNICATION DUE TO SELECTIVE INTERPRETATION 


Let me try to explain this with an illustrative example: 

Imagine that a husband and wife are driving right across Pune 
– from Wakad to Koregaon Park – one evening – for a party.

Their car crawls at snail’s pace in the heavy traffic on the busy crowded roads of Pune 
 a city where traffic is the worst nightmare  especially in peak hours like evenings. 

The car is waiting at a red traffic signal.


Suddenly – the traffic signal turns green. 

The wife says to her husband: 

“The signal has become green...!!!”

Now 
 in his mind’s eye  the husband can interpret this simple communication from his wife in a number of ways.

The way in which he interprets this simple statement made by his wife 
– depends on his mental filter at that point of time. 

The husband
s response to his wifes simple statement will depend on how he interprets his wife's communication 
– which in turn will depend on his mental filter (at the point of time). 

Here are a few examples of how the husband will interpret his wife
s simple communication (“The signal has become green...!”) 
– and how the husband may reply back to his wife: 

1. One husband may think his wife means to say: 


“Can’t you see...? The traffic light has turned green...!!!”

So 
he may retort angrily to his wife:  


“Of course I can see that the light has turned green  I am not blind...!!!”

(Remember 
 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”. 

The wife never stated that her husband is blind...)

2. Another husband may think his wife is hurrying him up 
– and he interpret the meaning of what his wifes communication as: 

“Come on  you slow-poke  hurry up  we are already late...!!!” 

On interpreting his wifes communication in this fashion 
 the husband may snap back at his wife: 


“Don’t unnecessarily hustle me  let me drive properly...!!!”

(Remember 
 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”.

The wife never stated that her husband is a slow-poke and drives too slowly...) 

3. A third “hen-pecked” husband may assume that his wife has started off her nagging again.


So 
 this husband will say irritably to his wife: 

“Stop your nagging and backseat driving – why don’t you drive the car yourself instead of passing comments...?”

(Remember 
 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”

The wife just wanted to draw the attention of her husband to the traffic signal 
 she had no intention of nagging him...)
  

Now 
 in each of these three cases above – on hearing her husband’s remarks  the wife may either choose to remain silent – or she may “appropriately” respond to the husband’s comments and give him a “befitting reply

If she decides to retort 
 the husband may reply back. 

And then – the conversation will go on and on. 

The result will be that more “heat” and less “light” is generated – leading to a heated argument – which may escalate into a fight between husband and wife.

What happens if a husband just ignores the wife’s remarks 
– he remains silent – and he says nothing...?

Well 
 the wife may interpret her husband’s silence in a number of ways – depending on her mental filter – and she will respond accordingly – and she may say something to her husband again. 

Or 
– the wife too may remain silent  like her husband. 

This silence of both husband and wife may result in breakdown of verbal communication  though  non-verbal communication may continue.

Remember 
 SILENCE is a very effective way of conveying non-verbal messages 

Sometimes  silence can be quite powerful too  like they say “a deafening silence”...!!!

Whichever way the wife chooses to give her husband a 
“befitting reply
”  this may provoke the husband further – and the “communication” cycle will continue.


HARMONY OF MENTAL FILTERS FOR EFFECTIVE INTER-PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
HOW TO BE IN SYNC WITH THE PERSON YOU ARE COMMUNICATING WITH


Interpretation of communication 
 drawing inferences – it all depends on your mental filters  doesn’t it...? 

Your mental filters “colour” your cognition 
– and influence your interpretation of the message in a communication due to various biases or prejudices. 

The sine qua non for Effective Communication is Harmony of Mental Filters

And 
– if there is a Mismatch in Mental Filters – the result is Misinterpretation of Messages – due to persons interpreting “Implied Meanings – where there were none.

Like we highlighted in the example of communication between husband and wife 
 repeated misinterpretation of communication can snowball and spiral into an unhealthy communication cycle  and this can damage inter-personal relationships both at work and at home. 

For example 
 in a marriage  repeated misinterpretation of mutual communication between husband and wife  due to mismatch in mental filters  may cause disharmony in the relationship  and lead to marital discord  which in turn may snowball into disastrous consequences  and which can  in extremis – even lead to breakdown of the marriage.

So 
 before you communicate with someone  at work, in society and at home  make sure that your mental filters are in sync with each other (mutually synchronized).

Otherwise 
– when you talk to someone – you will mean something – but the other person will interpret something else  and this may create serious misunderstandings.

Remember 
 there are six messages present in a person-to-person communication process

So 
– when you are talking to someone  both of you must make sure that you are in perfect sync” with each other – so that there is no ambiguity or confusion – and you achieve seamless effective inter-personal communication.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Disclaimer:
1. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

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