Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The ART of communication

Part I

Communication is the art of transferring a message (to and from), where a person gives, another one receives and consequently both of them end up receiving. Good communication requires great listeners and observations skills to ensure that the message is understood by all the parties involved.

This art is frequently misunderstood and misused as generally very few do communicate to give or to receive. Usually we care more of what we have to express instead of how and when it needs to be communicated. We concentrate on passing the message but rarely take the time to confirm whether it has reached the targeted audience, then instead of communicating, we are just stating.

To find someone who really listens is a gift from the Universe or is our “shrink” (the one we pay a significant amount of money just to have the illusion of being listened to).

Today one of the most challenging things is to be able to have authentic communication, where two or more people exchange ideas, thoughts, feelings, needs, etc, while paying attention to one another (through listening and observing).

Usually, when given the chance, we burst into conversation mode, saying everything it comes through our mind, taking advantage of the rare opportunity given to us to express ourselves. So focused we are on letting everything out, that we forget to return the favor by providing others the chance to express themselves. Therefore we usually find ourselves battling with each other to gain control of the “monologue”. The one who raises more the voice or shows more determination or enthusiasm will be the one doing the talking, while the other one will be pretending to be listening. In fact the other party is probably having a conversation on his/her own (probably discarding everything that is being said or maybe lost on his/her own issues).

During the “monologue” both parties will keep looking at each other and nodding in agreement every now and then, as if they are really paying attention. Once the “conversation” is over, the one that did the talking will be feeling pleased to have found someone who has listened, and maybe for a moment (a very short one) will feel a bit guilty for not allowing the other one to express. So he/she promises: “Next time I will be the one listening!”

The one that did the “listening” is probably feeling dejected and confused. Most likely he/she will be saying to him/herself: “What on earth was he/she talking about? I can’t remember a thing, and what's more distressing is that I did not get a chance to say what I wanted to say! Next time I will be the one doing the talking!”

Our society has all the tools to communicate, but as time passes by we communicate less and less. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling lonely and on our own, despite all the friends, family and colleagues we have. Those are days when all we want to do is to talk with someone, but we suddenly realized that there is nobody ready to listen or share with us a real conversation.

Is this related to the fact that from childhood our parents and the society rarely gave us the chance to express ourselves? (What we like or dislike, what we want, what we dream about and what do we think about anything). Perhaps that explains why we believe that we are communicating through monologues, where one talks and states, the other pretends to be listening and does whatever pleases.

Is the technology around us the one responsible? Are we spending so much time seating on our computers surfing Internet, watching TV and reading, that we forgot the Art of Communication?

When was the last time that you spontaneously switched off the TV (computer, book) just to have a conversation with your child, (sister, mother, wife, husband, and friend) and find out how is she/he doing/feeling/ dreaming about?

When was the last time that you really listened?

When was the last time that you talked from the bottom of your heart aiming to communicate instead of making a point?

Through the daily practice and mastery of the Art of Communication we pay attention to life, we live in the moment, we are in the now, we are one and all.

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Sherry said...

Dear Gabi,

I think like anything else, it is something we have modeled (or not) from our parents at a young age. But like you said, it is an art and one that we keep on perfecting in life, that is if we want to have deeply satisfying relationships. Thanks!


Kass said...

Very interesting post. I remember hearing an interview on the radio with Alan Alda (of 'Mash' fame). He was talking about his relationship with his wife - one of the few Hollywood marriages which have lasted for years. He said, When real communication takes place - it changes the other person." I really liked this because it indicated that as a husband, he had really listened to his wife and that his wife's words had had a profound impact on him.

Paulina Reibakas said...

:-) 100% cierto!!!!

Gabriela Abalo said...

We are what we learned. Through awareness comes the understanding and the possibility to change what it is.

Thank u dear Sherry!


Gabriela Abalo said...

When real communication takes place, everything changes, as it is happening to and from, then we are giving while receiving.

welcome to the blog dear Kass!!


Gabriela Abalo said...

Thank U Pauli :)

Edward said...

A very educative story, I am really looking forward to part 2 of this article.
I am still wallowing in persuit of good communication skills. Sometimes the way we express ourselves does not really reflect what we mean to, owing to fear of offending others especially those in higher authority. But i do believe equiped with proper skills we can do better in our society, so as to reflect what we really intend to express. This is a very crucial ingredient in life I would personally love to perfect this ART!

Gabriela Abalo said...

So true, sometimes we limit ourselves for fear to be misunderstood. But then both parties are loosing out as the purpose of the communication has been lost. We shall not fear to speak out, as long as we always do it from our heart. Then nothing can go wrong.
Thank u Edu for your continuous support.


Hicham Maged said...

I do believe that many of our problems are due to the "monologue" that you expressed either on the personal interaction or the local and international one (between nations). This is insightful, Gabriela

Gabriela Abalo said...

Thank you very much Hicham.
I do agree with you the "monologue" is a general problem, from individuals to countries. We are more enthusiastic about telling than communicating. Showing that we are still not fully ready to embrace the differences, till then we shall not see peace.

Welcome back to the blog.