Communication Breakdown

Does it ever feel like you aren’t speaking the same language as anyone else?

Well… you aren’t. So take a deep breath, your senses haven’t let you down.

One of the most important foundational pieces of any relationship/connection is communication.

Well… What IS communication?

As I’ve looked deeper into the waters of communication I was astounded at what I failed to notice all these years even though I participate in language on a daily basis. Now that I realize what communication is mainly comprised of it does not surprise me to see the difficulty we are having with one another and the social issues at large.

Please note, this is a brief over-simplified blog post about communication, I’ve left quite a bit out that I’ll cover in future posts.

Communication comes in many forms, verbal and non verbal, but for this blog post I would like to focus on the verbal and linguistic form.

The mere act of verbal communication is hardly understood. It’s nothing short of magical that I’m able to almost instantaneously retrieve experiences from my memory (content) and unconsciously put them in a syntactical sequence using symbolic metaphors (context) with little effort so that you understand what I mean. Weird huh?

Daily, I make small mouth noises which travel across space vibrationally, these vibrations enter the listener’s ear, almost instantaneously they draw from their cultural dictionary (similar to a google search) apply meaning to the word and agree that we are on the same page of understanding.

This magic happens so fast that we rarely pay attention to it. Even though we are using the same words as one another, the meanings often differ greatly along with the understandings.

One of the main enemies of clear communication is noise. I’m defining noise in this blog post as distractions, background noise, speech impediments, foreign accents AND the most common one is Semantic Noise. Noise seems to always find a way into any channel of communication, no matter how tightly “sealed” and protected.

An example of Semantic Noise would take place after an abstract statement like: “Wes likes fish.”

One listener may interpret (infuse their own meaning into the word) “Wes likes fish” as in he enjoys the taste of fish as a meal. While another listener may interpret the statement as he enjoys watching fish in an aquarium. Two interpretations that are far different from one another yet stem from the same statement.

Another example would be the following “Sarah hurt me.”

One listener may interpret this as Sarah emotionally hurt my feelings while another individual in the group may interpret the statement as she physically hurt me.

Although we use the same english words for the most part, their meanings differ greatly. Most of us understand this when we sit and reflect but often forget about it as we enter our hectic “daily grind” and confusion. The understandings differ greatly because the meanings are created on an individual basis based on that specific person’s experiences. The words themselves don’t mean anything at all, they are just their to differentiate one “thing” from another and aid in the google search of the mind. The word “Dog” has no meaning whatsoever until the meaning is infused into it on an individual neuro- semantic basis from experience. The word “Dog” may make you think of your current dog while someone else upon hearing the word “Dog” may trigger a terrible experience they encountered when a dog chased them when they were young. It’s the same word but infinite meanings are infused into it based on the individual and their own unique experiences.


Wes Pinkston

Encinitas Life Coach

If you’d like to get started working with me One-on-One click here to schedule a free Life-Coaching Consultation. If you are in the San Diego area, mainly EncinitasCarlsbadDel MarLa Jolla and Solana Beach we can meet in person. For those of you out of state I provide Life Coaching over the phone and via skype. My plans are flexible and more information will be provided during our free consultation.

Have a wonderful week everyone, keep sending me your success stories, I love hearing them.

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