Have you ever thought of communication as a responsibility? The words that you say or write, the energy you emit, the body language that is seen by others, all of it works in tandem to send a message. But if that message isn’t received correctly, who is responsible?
Friend and blog copy editor, Cindi Cornelison, told me that many years ago, a professor said something interesting: “Any miscommunication is 100% the fault of both people involved in the conversation. Whether it’s explaining something poorly, using the wrong words, not listening, letting emotion cloud perception, etc. The ‘fault’ may not be such a negative thing, but it did cause the inconvenience of a misunderstanding.”
Communication involves a sender and a receiver with the roles switching back and forth in reciprocal fashion until the transmission is complete. The responsibility lies with each participant to ensure there is no interference in the sending and receiving process.
And with so much traffic on the communication road, being an etiquette-ful traveler requires a friendly attitude.
The benefits of working for politeness on this two-way street helps you maintain clarity and avoid the inconvenience of misunderstanding. If we remember that we are always in the midst of making a possible first impression, our care to be our best will help guide our openness to listening to what it might be like in the other lane.
The reciprocal nature of communicating puts everyone involved on equal footing.
Even with the best intentions in mind, clarity is bound to yield to misunderstanding from time to time. And dealing with this situation requires an acceptance of responsibility.
If both participants are responsible, and accept this is so, it is much easier to establish that no harm was intended. However, if this is not easily done, you’ll need to seek clarity.
An apology and clarification go a long way in repairing misunderstandings. This shows other people that you are a trustworthy and responsible person. And what better message to give someone?