There’s no one on the planet who hasn’t been in a situation wherein tempers and/or emotions escalated – perhaps even dramatically – due to miscommunication or poor communication. When this has happened in your own life, you’ve likely looked back on it afterwards and wondered how things got so out of control. You might even have tried to determine who was to blame fr the bad communication , or perhaps you ended up pursuing avenues of explanation that resulted in self-doubt or justifications for the communication mishap and resulting behavior.
A colleague introduced me to three levels of communication that have served as a reminder that I shouldn’t automatically accept everything I hear at face value. Given that I’d had a lifetime of communication by the time the colleague pointed this out, it’s ironic that this idea actually sounded like a new piece of information to me. The three levels of communication explain even further why we shouldn’t accept everything we hear at face value. Those levels are:
- Intention (what the person intends to say)
- Communication (what actually comes out of the person’s mouth)
- Reception (how the listener interprets the message)
To better understand people’s deeper motives when you’re communicating, consider using the helpful tool known as Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Developed by 20th century American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, NVC is a communication process that encourages its users to express needs and feelings rather than judgments and criticisms. This tool can help people to better understand his/her and others’ motivations, express his/her needs more positively, and be more empathetic toward the needs and feelings of others.