The human being is a social being. Communication is the basis of any social encounters with other human beings. How to communicate is something we learn early on at a stage, when we cannot even speak a word. As babies we learn the first types of communication to be able to show our surrounding that we need a change, are hungry or just need social contact.
When we learn words, we learn how to arrange them to express what we want and need, what we fear and some of us even learn how to express their emotions. We learn it by doing. We fail and we try again.
When growing up we continue learning, failing and retrying.
Most of us, unfortunately, never ask themselves if they communicate the right way. Just like breathing and sleeping, we just do it, because it is part of life.
Yet all of us feel misunderstood so many times.
Is it because, we didn't manage to express, what we wanted to say the right way?
Is it because the receiving communication partner did not receive the message we were sending, the way we intended to send it?
Or is it because we do not speak the same language although we thought we would?
Communication has so many different layers. Understanding and being understood is based on more than just language. The words we use to send our message might mean something else to the one that is receiving this message.
The type of communication of the sender and the receiver might be completely different.
There are a million of reasons, why communication is so hard, and we often feel so misunderstood. Be it with our partner in private life or with our colleagues or direct reports in business life.
In times of Corona pandemic, where we face situations, when we are told to avoid social contact and business communication is moved from face-to-face to virtual communication, the challenges become even bigger.
Understanding and being understood are essential though for continuous development of our social (private) communication as well as our business communication and our success in both.
We all should work on enhancing our communication and rethinking the way of communicating.
In order to do that, the first step would be understanding and accepting that there are differences in communication. There are different types.
Several behavioral analysis approaches can help you to see why you sometimes get along with someone very well and seem to clash with someone else in almost everything.
This of course also influences our communication and the way we understand and are understood.
At engaging meetings we use Everything DiSC®, which differentiates four different types:
the direct and result oriented type, the D-type (dominance),
the enthusiastic and optimistic type, the i-type (influence).
the accommodating and patient type, the S-type (steadiness),
and the analytical and systematic type, the C-type (Conscientiousness)
And of course, all the types that are a combination of those.
You can imagine, that the words used by a D-type person would be totally different than the ones an S-type person would choose. At the same time the understanding of the same words would be received differently according to the type of the receiver.
These behavioral types set the tone for our natural behavior. If you add the adapted, the learned, behavior, things get really complicated.
This is why all of us should have a deep look at what kind of communication types there are and what kind of communication type you are yourself. Only then you will be able to understand and be understood the right way. To send the way the receiver understands it.
Further to that everyone should develop a good way of listening to others. Most of us only listen to reply and not necessarily to understand.
These are only some layers of communication. There are so many others.
I think that everyone can agree, that the right kind of communication is the one we should practice in our daily lives.
For that we have to rethink a lot of habits we have internalized by communicating without thinking on how we do it.
Let’s rethink it and analyze it, especially in times when situations are forcing us to reduce one of the supporting factors of communication: The face-to-face element.
Try it! You will see how it works!