Saturday, October 22, 2011

Resolving Conflict: 6 Roadblocks That Shut Down Communication

I spend a lot of time thinking about communication because I am, at my core, a communicator. Granted, there is a difference between interpersonal communication, lecture-type communication, and organizational communication; but I’ve kind of been letting all of them roll around in my mind.

So i’ve been thinking alot about communication…

And even though i’m in the “church business” (boy, does that sound wrong), I think communication is pretty much the same in most venues. whether you are in a “real business”, a partnership, a relationship, a marriage, a team, etc… some basic principles of communication apply to you.

I’m starting with the assumption that good communication places significant responsibilities on both the sender and the receiver. If both aren’t working together, communication will never happen. but for now, i’m focusing on the sender.


Insecurity — some people withhold information because doing so places them in a position of power. if you are not willing to give information away it is because you are either trying to manipulate or assert power over someone or you are trying to hide something. some things do need to be hidden, but it is almost always better to give information away rather than holding on to it.

Individuality — communication cannot be successful if it is used to advance a personal agenda. good communication is dependent on teamwork and shared investment. those who are unwilling to “play together” will never communicate successfully.

Lack of Clarity — I could say, “perhaps you should consider the ramifications of the impending impact based upon your current longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates and the certain eventuality of sharing those precise coordinates with a rapidly forthcoming jalopy.” or I could say, “LOOK OUT, HERE COMES A CAR!” Both statements send the same information, the first statement would likely be comprehended…but too late.

Competition — every time I send information to someone, they must evaluate it in light of everything else I have sent them over time. If my present information conflicts with previous information, my audience must determine which of my “competing” messages they will believe… even if the messages aren’t a direct contradiction, they can still create competition if they are not aligned with each other.

Vagueness — the RIGHT details are more important than LOTS of details.

Wrong Methods — a song is a great way to convey love to someone. It’s not a great way to communicate you are upset with your child’s behavior. If you don’t consider the medium through which you are communicating, you will significantly detract from your audiences comprehension.

that’s all i have to say about that…

try it out on your spouse.

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