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Fundamentals of Communications

To improve communications work not on the utterer but the recipient.

It is the recipient who communicates. Unless there is someone who hears, there is no communication. There is only noise. One can perceive only what one is capable of perceiving. One can communicate only in the recipients’ language or in their terms. And the terms have to be experience-based. We perceive, as a rule, what we expect to perceive. We see largely what we expect to see, and we hear largely what we expect to hear. The unexpected is usually not received at all. Communication always makes demands. It always demands that the recipient become somebody, do something, believe something. It always appeals to motivation. If it goes against her aspirations, her values, her motivations, it is likely not to be received at all or, at best, to be resisted.

Where communication is perception, information is logic. As such, information is purely formal and has no meaning. Information is always encoded. To be received, let alone to be used, the code must be known and understood by the recipient. This requires prior agreement, that is, some communication.

ACTION POINT: Take steps to improve communications by asking recipients to initiate an information exchange. Formulate questions such as, “What objectives do you believe are appropriate for your area of responsibility next quarter?”

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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