communication myths
communication myths

Article by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Mr Shawn Dwyer  ~

Given that NLP is a Communication Model and Neuro-Semantics is an Integrated Communication Model- communication is our business.  That is also why we often, instead of giving a “NLP Practitioner” certificate, we give a Professional Communicator Certificate.  After all, that’s what neuro-linguistics and neuro-semantics is all about- how we communicate meanings and understandings to ourselves and to others.  And in this, there are numerous communication myths that we have to expose as we train people in advanced communication competencies.

Myth #1: Communication is talking.

People who are deceived by this myth falsely think that by doing more and more talking, they are communicating more.  Others may think that effective communication is equal to the gift of gab.  But it is not!  Professional communicators know that communication involves listening as much as talking.

Talking, in the sense of advocating what you think, feel, and want is only part of communication, and actually it is a minor part.  The word communication itself speaks of a co-union and a communion of two or more persons who interchange ideas, listen to each other, and seek first to understand then to be understood.  Real communication is a collaborative adventure of discovery and, at its best, is a dialogue.

Myth #2: Communication is a one-way process.

Since real communication is not talking, to truly communicate, you have to engage in a two-way process that is more like a dance.  It involves both sending and receiving messages, receiving feedback and reflecting and adjusting, and learning, and co-creating the experience.  In communication, we compare message sent and received to see if they match.  Then we seek to match the other person’s model of the world in order to understand the other person on his or her terms.  In the reflecting process, we check on our own messages to check if we are being congruent and accurate.

Myth #3: Communication is easy.

The only person who could possibly think that this is easy is the person who has not tried it.  When you engage in the process of listening, entertaining another’s ideas, questioning and exploring, re-presenting your own ideas- you will quickly find out that it is challenging and demands a lot of you.

It demands attention, focus, being present, thinking, etc.  The dialogue process is actually a much more difficult challenge than most people imagine.  The challenge is due to the many variables involved, and the ability to truly listen, consider, ask good questions, get one’s ego-investments out of the way, to recognize one’s own thinking and emoting filters, and more.  All of these skills require training and practice in order to become truly competent in communicating.

Myth #4: Communicating is simple.

Rather than being simple, real communication is complex because it is multi-layered.  It is complex also due to the many, many variables involved.

With the messages sent and received, there is also the creation of multiple contexts of those messages.  Complicating things is the language used, the non-verbals, the history of a relationship, and the multiple levels of thinking and emoting.  There are also the multiple frames which govern the meanings and for those you have to go meta.  Then there are the 60 possible meta-programs which filter how each person thinks and perceives.  So getting on to another person’s channel is most challenging.

Myth #5: Communication is saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

If only it was that easy and simple!  But alas, “meaning” itself is an internal constructing of understanding, of linking and associating things together, so that actually “words do not mean” anything.  It is people who use words to convey meanings.  We do the meaning-making and we use words (properly and improperly, appropriately and inappropriately) so that we often have to check with others about how they are using their words and share our own operational definitions.

The basic NLP communication guideline is, “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”  Given that, you never know what you have communicated.  With a video-recording, you can know what you said, how you said it, the context, etc.  But you never know for sure what the other person heard.  Not until you get a response can you begin to guess the message that the other person constructed from what you said and how you said it.  It’s the co-creation of meaning that makes communication a shared construct.

There are other myths and many, many more communication guidelines in NLP and Neuro-Semantics- guidelines that can enrich leadership, management, parenting, love and much, much more.  For more, contact The Coaching Centre

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