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A conversation involves two or more people and has two parts: what is said and what is heard. A successful conversation involves a recipient receiving information with the intention it was to be heard and vice versa. An unsuccessful transfer of information would be if the recipient questioned the intention for the information, or if the information was perceived incorrectly.

One would think, then, that effective communication would most likely take place between people who know each other well. People that would understand one another’s intentions and know how to perceive the information. They would consider the “source” and be able to fill in the gaps when needed. I’m starting to think that I’m wrong, though I think this depends on what the communication is about.

It seems that it is easy to attach our own emotions to advice coming from someone we love. We are often afraid to be vulnerable. We get defensive when someone points out our faults. Why is it so difficult to accept help and advice from those that love us the most? Wouldn’t these people know us the best? Wouldn’t they be the ones to want to see us succeed? Yet, we question their intentions.  We let our own emotions affect our perception of what we hear. With the pressures of today’s world, the challenges of jobs, the struggles of raising children, and holding marriages together, don’t we NEED to rely, trust, and support one another?

I’m willing to bet that in today’s society, communicating with one another is even more difficult than ever before. Yes, we now have a range of technology that has improved our access to people. You can’t, however, determine an individual’s intention nor their perception of information via social media or email. If you have ever tried doing a presentation via the internet, you will understand what I mean. It is very difficult to know how the information you are providing is being perceived when you can’t see or hear the people you are communicating with.

In addition, life is on high-speed. Effective communication takes undivided, quiet time and attention for people to feel that they have been listened to and heard. When is there time in our day for that? Family meals are rare. Car rides are filled with music, movies, and cell phones. In fact, most of the time we’re so tired from our day that when it comes time to communicate with the ones we love the most, we’re often too tired to do it.

Slow down and breathe. Make communication a priority in your family and your home. It will be in mine, as soon as I effectively communicate this to my family.