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# What is communication, anyway? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

What is communication, anyway?. Thinking and acting with probabilities. 1. Language is inherently ambiguous. Examples Ok, what’s the big deal? “If I say something which you understand fully in this respect, I probably made a mistake.” - Alan Greenspan.

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### What is communication, anyway?

Thinking and acting with probabilities.

• Examples

• Ok, what’s the big deal?

• “If I say something which you understand fully in this respect, I probably made a mistake.” - Alan Greenspan

2. The comm. process can be described in terms of probabilities.

• The sender typically only sees one possibility. The receiver may:

• see same same possibility

• see different possibility

• can not determine the correct possibility

Prop. 2 cont. probabilities

• The sender may purposely use language to promote multiple probabilities

• Equivocate

• Verbal Rorschach

• Examples: Rec. Letter: “I’m pleased to say this person is a former colleague of mine” or “You will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you”

• The receiver may purposely misunderstand

3. Context building is a dynamic process probabilities

• “Hand it to me”

• Which exerts most power?

• Context

• Content

4. Context is “solidified interpretations” that shape probabilities.

• Unwritten agreements (rules)

• That are not deterministic

• But strongly influential

5. probabilities.Context is created dynamically & individually through interaction with others.

• Context is different than situation

• Interaction patterns vary from person-to-person

6. Context is an efficient mechanism for comm. probabilities.

• Acronyms

• Coordination mechanism

7. The context can become so powerful it acts like a “black hole”.

• IBM

• When words lose their power, only force remains.

• Noncommutativity A +B = B+ A

• skyscraper, cathedral, temple, prayer

• prayer, temple, cathedral, skyscraper

9. All comm. carry secondary messages. sequencing.

• Intentional

• Unintentional

10. While interpretations are relative, the process of creating meaning is not.

• Understanding is not a hopeless task.

• Focus on the process, not the words, not even the people.

So what? creating meaning is not.

• Explore the context of employees (MBWA)

• Check for possible misunderstandings, even if you think you are understood

• Use the “black out” technique to communicate messages that are likely to be misunderstood.

So what? cont. creating meaning is not.

• Recognize that law of “large numbers”. As numbers grow larger, anything can happen. (Harrier Jets and Pepsi)

• Build contexts with employees.

• Focus on employee interpretations not the message (What they heard vrs. What you said)

So what? Cont. creating meaning is not.

• Become sensitive to unwitting secondary messages.

• Frame messages carefully (e.g. Cashman).

• Carefully manage employee expectations

• Silent benchmarks

• “Under-promise over-deliver”