wipeout, communication, obstacle course, Toby Elwin, blog

The communication obstacle course

Toby Elwin Blog, Communication, Organization Behavior 2 Comments

communication, obstacle course, wipeout, bias

The goal of communication is to not lose people along the way.

A successful message retains the oomph of intent.  For this to happen communication must travel an obstacle course to reach each person.  Perception is a bulwark that forces communication through an obstacle course to understanding and include:

  • Values,
  • Bias,
  • Mood,
  • Culture,
  • Agenda, and
  • Emotion

Each person’s perception filters communication intent.

Each layer adds a filter to sift, interpret, and frame the away from a clarity and towards confusion.

Confusion is an enemy to change.

Communication Wipeout

Communication has a rough road to travel to successfully reach your target.

One filter we all may have experience with is the rational/emotional dialogue where we find at the individual level the rational dialogue is many times trumped by the emotional dialogue:

  • Waking up at 5 am to go to the gym is the rational payoff to get in shape
  • Sleeping in late is the emotional payoff to stay within a comfortable bed

The battle between the rational and the emotional is constant.  This rational/emotional filter where one consistently overrides the other is how habits form.  If we want change to succeed we need new habits to form.

To understand the potential filters involves an organization change effort to understand two items:

  1. The conversation ways that people interact and
  2. The structures that shape these interactions

These conversations happen at their view, not your view, their frame, not your frame.   These provide a view of the organization’s filter, or culture.  Rule #1 in communication: know your audience.

The more the communicator ignores how filters affect communication, the more the communicator discredits the importance people are.

So, as you view the world through your filter, keep in mind the world views your message through their filter.

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