It's Not Your Fault...But

TQ Blog 4

Count the number of "F"s in the picture above. How many do you see? If you counted six, you are correct! If you are scratching your head, look back at the word “of” and “scientific.” It is funny how easily we miss something right in front of us. We skip the word “of” because when it is read, it sounds like “ov.” It is not our fault “of” is pronounced “ov”, but it is our responsibility to know the difference. In this exercise, it seems like our mind plays a trick on us and we wonder, “Man! How did I miss that?” The same is true for communication; we often miss the meaning behind words because of how they are delivered. It is not our fault miscommunications occur occasionally, but it is our responsibility to be aware of others’ communication preferences.

We each have a unique perception of the world. Knowing and respecting others’ perceptions is a key to healthy communication. It is difficult to step outside our comfort zones and see life through someone else’s point of view. This other view point can be hard to accept and maintain when it conflicts with our own. The difficultly that occurs in realizing differences of perception is described in Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance. The theory focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. When we experience distress, miscommunication occurs and what is said can go unheard or be misinterpreted. Overcoming cognitive dissonance is a process.

Step 1 – Awareness:

Perceptions can be thought of as the lens through which people view the world. People communicate most easily through their own lenses. Dr. Taibi Kahler’s Process Communication Model addresses the importance of adapting our communication styles to meet the style of others. Kahler discovered six perceptions within people that produce predictable and sequential behaviors. Understanding and matching perception is the simplest and most powerful way to establish connection and build trust.

The six perceptions:

  • Thoughts – view the world by identifying and categorizing people and things
  • Opinions – view the world by evaluating people and situations through their belief
  • Emotions – view the world by feeling about people and situations
  • Reactions – view the world by reflecting about what is happening
  • Inactions - view the world by reacting to people and situations with like and dislikes
  • Actions – view the world by experiencing situations and making things happen

 

Communicating our messages effectively is more about delivery than content! Learn more about how to implement communication skills with one of our PCM Seminars. Keep an eye out for our next blog: Step 2 – Learn the Skills.

Jason Colvin, Director of Team Quest

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