19 May 2007

The Problem with Communication and Noise

After we discover that the meaning of communication lies with the receiver, and we realize then our importance of sending our message clearly, we still encounter two real problems.

But first, let me say that 'strike one' against good communication is the fact that the receiver and the sender will never match in perfect harmony. We all are products of our environment, our past, our own thoughts, experiences, and imaginations. If someone is sending us a message, we will never be able to achieve 100% understanding. Even if we were to communicate in a vacuum, we'd still miss the mark somehow (See post below).

But there is no vacuum of communication so we encounter other additional problems...

One is language and the other is noise. We'll discuss 'noise' first.

Noise, simply put, is your environment, that can influence the communication process. It could be real noise; for example holding an intimate conversation in a night club is much harder than doing it in the mountains where all is quiet except the birds.

But it can also be other factors. Anyone else have a hard time staying awake in a warm room during a lecture (or message) after you eat? What about holding a conversation about social justice when it's 40 below? Although it might be a good way to experience the need for social justice (people being able to stay warm), any deep conversation would continue to be interrupted by, "F@%^ it's cold!"

Anything surrounding you is noise that can interfere with the process of communication. The colors of the walls, traffic, the comfort of the chairs, the smell of food... you get the idea.

This is why I, and others, recommend holding 'brainstorming' sessions in a location away from fluorescent lights and conference room chairs. I have issues with brainstorming anyway, but that's for another post; there are many other, better, less exhausting ways, to find creative solutions.

But the point is, if you need to find a creative solution to something, get into a creative environment where the 'noise' around you can actually work to your advantage, because being outside a box, helps you think outside of one too.

Noise will always get in the way, so the best thing to do, is find an environment that works best for everyone.

Which is maybe why we should at least ask the question: "Is the current structure of seating in a worship service really conducive to the best way to send and receive messages?"

We'll never achieve perfection, but we can create a more positive solution by simply considering the noise around us and how that affects whatever communication situation we may be in.

Stay tuned for Language (strike 3)


paul said...

loving your work :)

this reminds me of the great stuff i read on The Marriage Course.

Another fascinating stat i read that on average someone will speak for 17 seconds in a conversation before they get interupted :)

David said...

I was going to interupt your comment but it only took me 6 seconds to read...