Monday, June 11, 2012


The Art of Effective Communication

Imagine that a husband and wife are driving 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 and 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 wife's 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 reply to his wife: 

1. One husband may think his wife means to say, “Can’t you see...? The traffic light has turned green...!” and he may retort angrily to his wife, “Of course I can see ... I am not blind...!”

2. Another husband may think his wife is hurrying him up and interpret the meaning of what his wife's communcation as, “Come on, you slow-poke, hurry up; we are already late,” to which he may snap back at his wife, “Don’t unnecessarily hustle me, let me drive properly.”

3. A third “hen-pecked” husband may assume that his wife has started off her nagging again and say irritably, “Stop your nagging and backseat driving – why don’t you drive yourself instead of passing comments?”

Now, in each of these cases, 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 “fitting” reply. If she decides to retort, the husband may reply back, and then the conversation will go on and on and the result will be that more “heat” and less “light” is generated.

What if a husband just ignores the wife’s remarks, remains silent, and 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 say something to her husband again. 

This may provoke the husband and the “communication” cycle will continue.
Interpretation of communication, drawing inferences – it all depends on your mental filters, doesn’t it? Your mental filter “colours” your cognition and your interpretation of the message in a communication.

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

And if there is a Mismatch in Mental Filters the result is Miscommunication.

So before you communicate, at work and at home, make sure that your mental filters are in sync (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. In extremis, in a marriage, repeated miscommuncation, due to mismatch in mental filters, may lead to marital discord which in turn may snowball into disastrous consequences.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
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.

Did you like reading this post?
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my recently published book of short stories COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:

If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
Professional Profile Vikram Karve:
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Lost and Found said...

This one is so true. But you say that one should be able to express oneself freely in a marriage. This is an exception I guess. But then again, if one wants a happy and peaceful marriage, it is important to think before one speaks. That is a task in itself and it will hamper the freedom to express oneself freely. Isn't it?