The Relationship between Information Sender and Receiver: The Art of Communication

For communication to take place, a message must be transmitted by a communicator and correctly received by a listener. If the message is not understood, there is no communication. There is only noise. Between the transmission and reception of a message, much can go wrong. Communication, by definition, involves at least two individuals, the sender and the receiver. There are certain filters or barriers which determine whether or not the message is actually transmitted or received.

There may be barriers that exist between the sender and the receiver such as cultural differences. Environmental conditions may also create barriers, e.g., poor acoustics, others talking, outside noises. More common, however, are differences in frames of reference between sender and receiver. For example, there may not be a common understanding of purpose in a certain communication. You may ask me how I'm feeling today. To you, the phrase "How ya doing" ?is nothing more than a greeting. However, I may think that you really want to know and I may tell you - possibly at some length.

What Facilitates Clear Communication? A Good Communicator: exchanges ideas, feelings, and values -- uses appropriate language, tone, pitch, and volume -- gives relevant information -- uses non-verbal signals to emphasize and support messages -- clarifies -- solicits feedback -- listens -- responds and reacts -- conveys understanding.

Consider yourself as the receiver. Assumptions, attitudes, and sensitivity issues may result in barriers as well. As a receiver you may filter or not hear certain aspects (or any aspect for that matter) of a message. Why? Because the message may seem unimportant or too difficult. Moreover, you may be selective in your attention. For example, you may feel that the sender is being redundant or boring, so you stop listening after the first few words and daydream instead. You may be preoccupied with something else. Or your filtering or lack of attention may be due to your past experience with the sender. You may feel that "this person has never made a point and never will!" You may spend time preparing a response or interrupting with your thoughts.

Overall, communication is a difficult process to complete correctly. One must find the medium between the view points of the sender and the receiver in order to relay their message in the most effective way.

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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.


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