How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Speaker or Listener: Who's At Fault?
Guest articles > Speaker or Listener: Who's At Fault?
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
There’s been an age-old argument in the communication field: who’s at fault if a misunderstanding occurs – the Speaker communicating badly, or the Listener misunderstanding? Let’s look at some facts:
Since communication involves a bewildering set of conscious and unconscious choices, accuracy becomes dependent upon each communication partner mitigating bias and disengaging from assumptions; the odds of communication partners accurately understanding the full extent of intended meaning in conversation is unlikely. It’s quite a complicated mess of factors.
My new book What? Did you really say what I think I heard? focuses on listening: how we mishear, misunderstand, and otherwise misinterpret, where and how the gap between what’s said and what’s heard occurs and how to avoid misunderstanding. [My next book might be titled Seriously? Did you really hear what you think I said? that focuses on speakers]. While researching and writing the book I realized that the responsibility for effective communication is heavily weighted in the court of the listener: if listeners don’t have skills to catch or prevent their biases or unhook from all subjective filters, the speaker’s words and intent are moot: they may be misconstrued regardless of their accuracy. And yes, sometimes speakers mis-speak. But when a listener hears precisely what is being conveyed and respond accordingly, a speaker can hear any problems and correct them.
So the answer is: the responsibility for an effective communication lie with the listener.
For those wishing to recognize their own levels of misunderstanding and bias in their listening process during conversations, I’ve developed an Assessment Tool. And for those wishing to have the skills to hear without misunderstanding or bias, I’ve developed a Study Guide. Make sure you read my new book What? Did you really say what I think I heard? available digitally, for free, and contact me to help you and your team implement the skills. firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Sharon Drew Morgen's books : Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it andWhat? Did you really say what I think I heard?.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
Published here on: 22-Mar-15