is the exchange of mental understanding.


Communication is the only foundation a relationship you can rely upon. If no communication exists, then all that you build as a relationship stands in severe jeopardy of collapse. We have to learn how to communicate with accuracy.  Communication that is accurate and meaningful builds a relationship by increasing the knowing of each other.  The more you know about each other the more complex the relationship becomes.  The more purpose you put in the relationship the more complex it becomes.  So knowing and purpose are the reasons to increase communication.  Look at this page to see the importance of communication: CTIVULA.

Communication is the exchange of mental understanding. "Exchange" is the act of one giving and the other receiving. A change of ownership of the thought must occur for true communication to occur. This would be the same as two relay racers exchanging the baton. They have to match speed, stride, reach forward or backward with perfect timing, and grab hold as the other turns loose. To drop the baton will lose time. To go without the baton will lead to disqualification. "Mental" is those things that occur in the brain as thoughts. They can be emotional/instinctive thoughts, intellectual/data related thoughts, or creative thoughts. Thoughts do not show on the outside when they occur in the brain so we have to communicate them with words and behavior. "Understanding" is like standing under. Since information only pours out downhill, standing slightly under the speaker provides the best chance to catch what they are exchanging.  The listener will wisely submit himself or herself to the speaker and then capture the thought being communicated. The submission is only slight.  To fully understand, there has to be a changing of the standing-under positions so the speaker can hear what the listener heard and then restate to provide clarity, this is called feedback.

Communication reaches the peak when the mental picture in the speaker's mind is formed in the listener's mind.  When the listener describes the picture in his own words such that the original picture formed in the speaker's mind, feedback has shown that the picture formed is accurate.  If the picture does not form properly, the feedback process is an opportunity to refresh the picture until it is accurately formed.  It takes work to get the picture formed with communication face to face.

People get listener skills with hard work and practice. The skilled listener can reproduce the idea of the speaker in different words that express the same idea. The idea may be emotional, data related, or creative in nature. Some thoughts have all three natures exchanged.

Trust BoxCommunication is the combining of words and behavior to exchange a picture. We use certain words to exchange ideas.  We also display the ideas through behavior.  Behavioral communication includes, at least, facial expressions, body posture, level of voice, tone of voice, hand gestures, and eye contact.  Sometimes the words and behavior conflict with each other. This communicates confusion. With consistency of words with behavior, the exchange takes on accurate meaning. Words and behavior must match, like the ends of a box. If the words and behavior are about equal, the box will have the most efficient volume for storage. If mostly words occur with no behavior, the box will be too shallow to store anything. If only behavior occurs with no words, the box will be too thin to store anything. The end of the box must be a good blend of words and behavior (width and height). If you see consistent words that say one thing and consistent behavior that says another thing, which do not match, trust in the behavior more than the words. Faking the words is easier than faking the behavior across time.

When consistency of words with behavior continues across time, trust develops.  The box built with consistent words, consistent behavior across time is TRUST.

We have gender differences in the basis for communicating.  (Link to Differences in Male and Female Communication) Women typically communicate to create cooperation. Men will typically communicate competitively. Since the two agendas can conflict with each other when a woman and a man communicate, we require special understanding skills for the relationship to grow. The most important aspect of these skills is the recognition that there is a difference and we must accomplish some education to facilitate the skills. Both men and women need to improve cross-gender skills. Cultural, status, and generational differences also exist.

Communication is not what you thought the other person said. Often, people have a certain meaning that others do not understand so the right picture does not build in the listeners mind. As people spend time communicating, they begin to see what certain words or phrase really mean to the speaker.

Short Quickie Lesson:

"But" or "And" - Try to get as many "but"s out of your speech as possible.  We always stand behind our "but"s.  Most people only hear what comes after the but in a sentence.  For example,  "You have a lovely face, but the way you comb your hair makes you look unkempt."  In this sentence the person only hears that they look unkempt and are most likely to be offended and not make a change for the right reasons.  If you say, "You have a lovely face, and the way you comb your hair makes you look unkempt,"  you will have a compliment that stays and a suggestion to change that may work well.  This is encouragement with reality.

"No"-ing or Knowing - "No"-ing the other person is one way to interact.  Knowing the other person is one way to interact.  Which way do you think will work better?

Many of us put "No!" into something that could be encouraging.  Consider this example.  My wife says, "You did not say you were going to be late."  Well, I was.  I  might say, " No, I was held up in traffic and I was only five minutes off what I said."  This following sentence says the same thing but keeps me from contradicting her.  "Yes, I was late by five minutes and the traffic was terrible getting here."  Be careful of your attitude.  If your emotional indicators are mean, no word organization will overpower the meanness of your tone.

"Why?" is another one of those words.  See Why?

The understanding of a cultural "saying" has to come from the culture of origin. We often talk in code words and phrases learned in our first culture called family of origin (FOO). Code words and phrases are complex messages that we express in a few words. In the FOO we hear unchallenged and undefined uses of certain words and phrases and accept their meaning to be what we perceived. We often perceive messages incorrectly so the understanding of the code word or code phase carries inaccuracies throughout our lives unless the meaning is challenged. To get the exact meaning of a code word or phrase from another culture requires we enter a feedback cycle. The feedback cycle is a process of communicating the coded message. Once the real intend of the coded message becomes clear, the code words and phrases become accurate in conversation and useful.

An example of a code word is as follows: As a child my family went to the Dairy Queen for "ice cream cones." Because ice cream melts and gets all over everything, I got my ice cream in a cup. Because we always went for "ice cream cones," I see an "ice cream cone" as ice cream in a cup, no matter who says it and where.

We also develop code words as we live through life. If I say "my car," you may see no car, or your car, or my car if you are familiar with it. As I begin to describe "my car," the image of the code words begin to change. As we sufficiently detail the description for understanding the image becomes my car. With cars and ice cream describing is easy because we talk in terms that we universally understand. Terms such as white, sports car, four wheels, black interior, the make and model and year of the car are concrete in nature. We understand them easily. You can even walk up to it and touch it. Code phrases such as "I love you" are much more difficult to envision and by that come to greater misunderstanding. You have to give details to describe the words in a language that the other person can understand and use when formulating a picture of what "I love you" means. Most people will think "I love you," from you, means what they think it means when they say "I love you." Because this is rarely true, the words need detail, or definition, for correct understanding.

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Without communication you do not have a relationship. Communication leads to trust. Trust leads to intimacy. Intimacy leads to vulnerability. Once we have achieved vulnerability, a person can receive unconditional love and acceptance. If we do not follow this process, unconditional love and acceptance are based upon incorrect information and then trust disintegrates along with intimacy and vulnerability. Unconditional love and acceptance are the basic pabulum of our souls. We seek it in every relationship. Arbitrarily, I consider that it takes 10 units of communication to develop one unit of trust. It takes 10 units of trust to develop one unit of intimacy. It takes 10 units of intimacy to achieve one unit of vulnerability and 10 units of vulnerability to achieve one unit of unconditional love and acceptance. The math works this out to 10,000 units of communication to achieve one unit of unconditional love and acceptance. Healthy people recognize they do not receive unconditional love and acceptance in a relationship and hold back the level of their investment.  Look at this page for more understanding of the importance of communication: CTIVULA.

Often, a relationship will start with vulnerability. This leads to a display of intimacy. Since intimacy makes us more vulnerable, we hope we can trust. This trust is fragile or nonexistent. When the trust is fragile or nonexistent, communication does not occur with the degree required for healthy relationships and the two people begin to suffer. They require that more vulnerability shore up the relationship so that the trust increases. The performance continues until the lack of communication shatters the inappropriate trust. The use of conditional or performance criteria for the building of the relationship continually moves away from unconditional love and acceptance.  As you look at CTIVULA, you would enter in at near the bottom and try to work uphill and away from unconditional love and acceptance.

The usual elements in communication are the words, tone of voice, facial expression, conceptions of code words, body posture, eye contact, active listening skills, using the feedback cycle, and follow-up behavior. In the absence of these elements, considerable presumption occurs. The presumption is that a person fully understands what the other person tried to exchange.  Knowing each other cannot occur without communication so understanding cannot occur without communicationCommunication is work and sometimes very hard work that is exhausting.

The use of Word Pictures helps a lot in getting the whole idea across.

Powerlessness occurs in communication because you cannot make the other person listen, understand, or talk. Without feedback, you are left to presume. It is safer to presume the worst, not the best. You are better off making the other person mad asking for clarification than being responsible for what you did not understand or they did not intend.

A few helpful notes: 1. People do not hear better when you yell unless they are too far away to hear a normal voice or have a hearing deficiency. Try whispering if you really want to catch a person's attention. 2. If the other person cannot understand your word picture, you may not be drawing it in their arena or experience. Find out what they know to get the picture drawn well. 3. Feedback is always the best way to clarify, not repeating over and over. 4. Being consistent with the words and behavior across time will make your communication trust-able.

The hardest part of communication to learn is the skill of listening effectively.  Look at the skills and deficits of listening on the linked page.  Who is listening

(I have put a lot of color on this page to stimulate as many nerve cells as possible.  Communication is that important.)

So, what are you communicating? The next lesson is Self-Image >