The perception a person has of himself as a sender and a receiver in a communication system determines his effectiveness as a communicator. As a sender, the individual should :
1. See himself as sharing, not telling. If he is there to tell and convince, he will not really hear the other person. He will hear only things to refute. He will concentrate so much on what he has lo get across that he will not understand what is happening.
2. See himself as seeking to relate to other people, not to control them. If he sees himself as attempting to control, he hunts ways of blocking communication that will decrease his control. He also attempts to ignore messages from the other person, which contradict his purposes. If he seeks to relate, he will be constantly testing his own ideas and values by those of others. He will become more sensitive to others.
3. See his task as seeking truth rather than convincing others. If his purpose is to seek truth, he will increase his data by becoming aware of the facts known and values held by others. If he seeks to convince, he will refuse to hear the other person.
4. Judge his own contribution by the feedback he gets from others rather than his personal judgement. If he depends on personal judgement, he cannot be sure what others hear, or what he is really saying, neither can he clarity his points for others. He does not know the areas in which he is not communicating effectively. If real communication is to occur, the feedback from the listeners is as important to the sender as the statements that he makes.
5. Look for agreement and any disagreement and seek the meaning the other person intends in the areas of difference. He should value disagreement as much as agreement, because it indicates the portions of topics that need further analysis.
6. Seek to be empathetic. If he tries to be empathetic, he may find that reality in a situation is far from what he considers to be the objective interpretation.
7. Seek words with common meanings. He “will use more than one word to explain a point to see if the other person makes a more accurate interpretation with one set of symbols than he does with another. He will be willing to be questioned. He will want the receiver to raise questions about any point that is not clear or about words he does not understand. He will value differences of interpretation and the exploration of meaning. If difference of interpretation is valued and seen as a way of increasing clarify, the receiver will not hesitate to make clear his lack of certainty about the intent of the other. He will recognize that each action affects the communication.
8. Seek to eliminate from his behavior actions that threaten. The sender will recognize that resistance is a part of communication. He will be listening with a “third ear” to discover what is not being said. He will attempt empathy to see how what he is saying sounds to the listener. He will use non-verbal cues consistent with the verbal statements that he is making.
As a receiver the individual should:
1. Seek to help the sender clarify his meaning. He should even raise questions from time to time about meaning that appear perfectly clean to him, because he may be interpreting in away that the sender did not intend. Much distortion in communication is produced by people thinking they are in agreement when they are not. He will ask, “is this another way of saying what you said ?” He can understand that his experience determines what he can hear and will seek to discover the background of experience that causes the sender to make the statements that he docs. He will recognize that he is interpreting in terms of his own needs and purposes and seek clarification. He will try to eliminate stereotypes from his own thinking and ask for specifics.
2. Sick understanding. His first emphasis is on attempting to discover what the other person is saying, rather than evaluating it. He can look for agreement in areas where it exists and seek to isolate the areas of difference (hat he will want to explore later. If he argues, he doesn’t attempt to hear. He seeks to win the argument. If he accepts, he increases the range of factors he is able to consider.
3. Seek to identify what is not being said as much as he tries to understand what is being said. The ideas that are not expressed, perhaps deliberately withheld, are as important as the statements made. If the listener can react in such a say that he helps the sender move into areas that arc not being verbalized, he has a better chance of achieving a real communication with the sender. An individual in his roles as sender and receiver will improve communication as he decreases emphasis upon status, removes fear and distrust as far as possible from the situation, remembers that honesty begets honesty, avoids evaluating the other person’s contributions, gives attention to the same degree that he demands it, avoids attacking or becoming defensive, and supports the person who is venturing into areas where he is testing the situation to see how open he can be.
If he is effective in improving the communication, the agreements will be understood, the disagreements will be clearer, people will value each other more or less, and the open interpretations will be more nearly similar to private ones.