Communicating effectively is not an easy task. There are many pitfalls to effective communication that require skills to overcome.
Did you realise that some estimates suggest that 93% of messages are received through non-verbal channels (body position, facial expression, tone, etc.)
In sending a message, thoughts or ideas are translated into words that in turn must be decoded (understood) by the listener.
How a message is sent or received is influenced by each person's personal experiences, how they are feeling at the time, and what they may be expecting of the situation. These influences act as a filter, and there is a lot of room for confusion in transmitting and receiving a message. The more each person is aware of themselves, and the more there is a shared understanding between people, the easier communication flows.
One of the most important skills in effective communication is that of listening. Hearing and listening are very different. Hearing is a perception by the ear. Listening is attending closely so as to understand.
It is difficult to really listen. Most of us listen only partially to the other person. We make assumptions about others' communications, which can lead to confusion. Listening requires concentration. We have to listen wholeheartedly to perceive the various communication levels, and the different feelings and needs being expressed.
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