Communication Is Freakin' Hard

Some days, it's a miracle that any of us manage to understand each other. Communication is hard. Really hard.

Communication is hard. Really hard.

It might not seem like it when we're talking to somebody. After all, we know what we're talking about, so the fault lies on the other person for misinterpreting, right? Well, sometimes. But usually it's our own fault.

Let's say you're talking with somebody else. Just think about all of the steps that a single thought goes through to get from you to them:

  1. You have a thought or feeling you want to convey.
  2. You have to encode that thought into words.
  3. You now have to transmit those words to the other person.
  4. The other person receives that transmission of words.
  5. They now need to decode those words into (hopefully) the same thought or feeling you attempted to convey.

So many sources of failure here. You could struggle to find the right words to convey the thought you had. Maybe you're having trouble projecting your voice. Perhaps it was a loud room or you're on a conference call and the other person couldn't quite hear what you said, or misheard one of the words. Maybe the other person interprets the words you used in a different way than intended.

This doesn't even begin to touch on language or cultural differences, assumptions you or they may have, or the other person not taking the time to confirm what they heard aligns with what you intended to say.

Frankly, it's a miracle that any of us manage to communicate with each other.