The Meaning of Communication Is The Response You Get

Put quite simply, if someone misunderstands you, gets the wrong end of the stick, or reacts/behaves in a totally surprising way to your expectations, well, frankly, it is because you did not make your meaning specific or clear enough to the listener/reader.

Tough to take?

Right away, I take responsibility for my delivery of this point. If, by the end you are still in the dark as to what or how this can make a significant difference to you, then I hold my hands up, I didn’t communicate effectively enough. (You will have to let me know, then I will have a think and put it across in a different way!)

Too often in life, we conveniently blame others –

‘why don’t you get it?’,

‘ ..but I told you..’ ,

‘I just said.. weren’t you listening?’

‘you need to pay more attention’,

‘what part of…don’t you get?’

‘why don’t these people ever learn..’ etc, etc.

Blame gets you nowhere. Sure, it may feel good in the moment and its healthy to let it out, but it does not lead to a solution; rather it leaves you in a very stuck and frustrated state. Not very empowering..

When you take responsibility for the response you get, that shows you how well you communicated your message across. Adopting more ownership puts you in control of changing the situation, rather than passively shrugging your shoulders or having a sense of bewilderment at your audience/client/prospect!

The meaning of communication is the response you get’  is one of the presuppositions of NLP (neuro-liguistic programming). These can be thought of as codes of conduct or convenient beliefs, whereby if you act as if they are true, they are designed to get better results for ourselves and other people.

In order to get what you want, you need to make your intention clear and communicate it in a way which allows for little if no ambiguity. It is in the response you get back, which shows you how well your message was received and is your feedback to you.

Let’s take a business scenario. You have to do a presentation and have rehearsed it a bit and aside from natural anticipation and nerves, you feel fairly confident the clients will enjoy the presentation and your pitch and all will go well, you will get the deal, the rise, the recognition, whatever it is for you.

Things proceed, as they do, until someone interrupts and says, ‘sorry, sorry. I really don’t see how that could work. You have lost me..’

A feeling of dread overcomes you. You weren’t expecting that!

Oh no! Thoughts race through your head and the metaphoric big pointy finger comes out..

How on earth can he say that?

What does he want from you?

Are the others lost too?

Tsk! There is always one!

So you go back over the part he didn’t get.

Here’s the trick:

Firstly, thank him for the feedback!

Now it gives you a chance to practice this system!

Don’t explain it in the exact way you did the first time. Use a different context, often using an example to illustrate helps. Listen to his language and relay your explanation using similar predicates. (he ‘couldn’t SEE’ so I suggested ILLUSTRATING)

Ask if it is CLEARER now.

You are the one in the driving seat and the fact your meticulous delivery was lost on this guy, is down to you, my friend, you. Not him. By taking responsibility for the response, you are presenting yourself as flexible and have the opportunity to gain the advantage. It is in your interest to communicate the meaning you wish to get across and you will only know that has been done successfully once you get a more desired response.

Rapturous applause, standing ovation, the phone number, the credit card details, the signature, the recommendation..whatever the desired outcome is for you.

Pay attention to the response. It is a great feedback mechanism. Be grateful for it and take the learnings.



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