I was at a business seminar sometime in March last year (2018), and one of the speakers made us -the participants- do a little exercise. He formed a semicircle, and beginning with the first person on the line, each of us whispered to the next person whatever we heard from the person before us. The rule was that no one was to repeat his statement to his neighbour and you had to say exactly what you heard (or what it seemed you heard). It was quite amusing when the last person was told to speak out what he heard, and his reply was, “What’s the assignment?” And we all erupted into laughter when the first person, on being asked to say out the original statement he made, said “I love your services”. Each of us on the line heard a different thing from our neighbour and passed on a different message to the next person.
Thinking about that experience, I discovered some lessons
– Our perception of the messages we receive, depend on the circumstances under which we receive them.
– The messages we send or receive get diluted and eventually change along the chain of communication.
– To retain the original message, we need to keep telling and clarifying (Consistency is crucial).
– To create effective communication, search for the lags and lapses, and fix them.
– Make your story to align with your audience’s situation, in order to communicate effectively.
– Rather than complain when your message seems to be misunderstood, try to understand your audience and their viewpoint (Except when dealing with trolls; in this case, they are not your audience).
In summary, the difference between what you say and what I hear, lies in the channel of communication and its effectiveness.