CAN WE TALK FOR A MINUTE?

Posted: July 25, 2012 by Puff in Communication, Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Can we talk for a minute, girl I want to know your name”…  came on last night, and I began to sing along with Tevin Campbell.  The song always catches my ears, no matter when I hear it.  As I was singing along, I realized why I like it so much.  Essentially it sets the tone for the conversation for the lady of interest, as well as gets her attention in a noticeable way.   More so, the phrase is a conversation starter with anybody.  ‘Can we talk’ has transformed into slogan to sit down and communicate.  Depending on the tone and inflection of one’s words that can lead to a positive or negative sit down.  Essentially communication is key to growth and survival, and over the past few days  my co blogger and I have dissected the way people communicate.  If wondering why; well as black men we have many goals, none more important than surviving.

Survival can best be defined as the struggle to remain alive and living.  For the purpose of this post, I view survival in a sense of over coming obstacles to get to the next level.   Communication is a major obstacle that civilizations struggle to overcome .  Today it seems with all the creative ways to communicate, we continue to lack even more when it comes to effectively communicating.   In order to understand how to communicate with one another, one must fully understand and comprehend the meaning of communication.  After looking up the definition I came across this: the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.  What does it all mean, basically to share thoughts from one to another.  The definition seems pretty simple, the act of communicating also seems simple as well.   However, the human race continues to struggle with the concept of communication, and that intrigues me to a point where I have to investigate.

Something that seems so easy should never be that hard to execute, but yet we continue to fail horribly.  I look at the evolution and history of the world, I see despair throughout, due to poor communicative  struggles.   I’m sure the outcome of many events would be completely different, if there was effective communication.  I read an amazing quote ” To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Listening to conversations of today, I’ve picked up on a couple of reasons why we can’t communicate effectively.  After doing some research  viewing different articles, I came across many reasons why communication can be poor.  Nearly everything that I looked up in relation to this topic, dealt with the workplace.  At first I was annoyed, but after reading through articles it made sense.   Some of the major factors that correlate with my thought process for this post were:  fear, selfishness,  confusion,   incorrect expectations.

Fear is a major contributor to miscommunication.   The concept of fear itself forces the parties involved to protect themselves.  It’s not really clear as to what your protecting yourself from, but everybody does it.  When we as a people feel threaten we go in to protect mode.   Everybody has a different defense mechanism, some shut down, others yell, some may get emotional.  If ever the threat of fear lurks, we do not open up and communication decreases.  As that happens we began to argue and lose the meaning of the conversation.  We tend to do this frequently, lose the purpose of the argument.  Now we have knives being thrown left and right until somebody goes too far.  Truthfully there is no real need for things to escalate that far, but we all push the limits.   When fear sets we see the concept of  ‘every person for themselves.’  The selfishness sets in, part of the defense to protect yourself at any cost.

We as a people tend to communicate from very selfish standpoints.   Far too often we speak about how to fix something for the benefit of the person speaking.  I want you to do this for me,  or you need to solve that for me.  No matter the situation, unless talking to yourself, what you’re trying to communicate is between one or more listeners.  As I have noticed, you will lose the listener quick.  Regardless of the interaction between the people, nobody wants to feel like they are being talked at.   This should always be a dialogue, meaning talk TO the listener.  We need to learn how to incorporate  the other party into the conversation.  If your boss, significant other, friend begins the conversation in a threatening and accusing way, your natural reaction to challenge them and respond.  Communication works on both stages, in order to communicate one must listen as well.  A level of trust has to be built in order to come to an understanding.  I trust that what you’re saying will not only benefit you, but I will gain something out of this as well.   If you have a co-worker say ” you stay messing up, and I have to come behind you and clean up your mess,” you’re going to lash out.  It’s natural, but the person was saying something that was lost.  The same person could say ” you have to be careful with your errors because you could get fired,  and this is making both of jobs harder.”  You heard the message loud and clear.  The message was  stated in a way for you to gain something from the exchange.   Same thing applies with relationships, the way the information is given vs received will be completely different.

Next we have confusion in communication.  I genuinely don’t know what you’re saying now.  So since I don’t follow,  I’m going to assume this is what you mean.  With confusion comes assumptions and implications.   When people can not understand each other, communication gets lost.   When decisions need to be made neither party understand what the other is trying to communicate.  Now everybody bumping heads.  With confusion comes incorrect expectations, people are unsure what their role is.  This happens when people  are leaving things out, not looking the at facts, over communicating with no comprehension.   In order to get the next level, comprehension is key.   We have to understand the reason behind the start of the dialog, in order to come to a conclusion.  A great way to over come this would be painting a picture.  What does that mean, put everything out there for people to see clearly.  The picture needs to detail the start, the middle and the end of the situation.  Within this picture, everybody should understand their role and purpose and how they relate to one another.

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”   When communication is done with a purpose, everybody involved can work toward the outcome needed.  In order to get from one stage to the next, it is important to figure out effect ways of communicating.  Some times we have to take a step back, look at the strategy we are using.  Sometimes the strategy used does not meet the need that is present.  Everybody can benefit from listening better and speaking clearer.  Learn to use a different approach, understand the ears of the audience that you speak to.  Just because you said it, does not mean that person heard it.   We all have to learn how to swallow our pride at times, and speak for the message to be heard.  Our community would grow more productively if we can communicate our thoughts better.  Find your balance, sometimes you have to listen louder, and other times you have to speak clearer.  On that note, I am sure this is a much longer post than you good people anticipated.  If communicating thoughts and ideas has not been working out, hope you can take some pointers.  I leave with a quote that really caught my attention some time ago, ” “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”  How do you perceive the world, and how does the world perceive you?

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