As social beings, one of the most important skills for survival and development is the ability to communicate with one another effectively. People are good at conveying general messages to each other but are seemingly getting worse at deciphering nuance in both interpersonal and written communication.
Our Today brings you this series on identifying moments of poor communication, misconceptions about effective communication and ways to address them.
The late Professor Aggrey Brown defined effective communication as “the interactive transference of shared meanings between two or more intelligences.”
This in the simplest sense, means for communication to take place, at least one person must send a message with an understood meaning and at least one other person must receive and perceive it in the way that is intended.
Good communication is concise and clear.
Here are some common day-to-day examples of ineffective communication that we could all work on.
Passive-aggressive communication – This is when someone communicates their message indirectly, often through sarcasm or hints. For example, a person saying “I’m fine,” when they are not; backhanded compliments; “the silent treatment;” making unreasonable excuses for not doing something.
Gaslighting – This is when someone tries to make the other person question their reality for deception or manipulation. For example, someone saying you never said something that you did or someone saying you misheard what someone said or that you’re making up an experience for attention.
Stonewalling – This is when someone shuts down communication and refuses to engage with the other person. This can be done by refusing to talk, walking away from the conversation, or simply ignoring the other person.
Using jargon or technical terms – When someone knowingly uses terms that are specialised, on someone who is unaware of their meaning, the only purpose they prove is that the sender is intending to mislead or confuse someone, or that he lacks the skill to communicate.