Most People Can’t Communicate at All

Most people can’t communicate at all. Often it seems that people are sharing a space, simply waiting for their turn to talk. We aren’t listening and we aren’t paying attention to the environment around us. Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” But how do we learn to hear what isn’t said? Practice is a great way to learn how to converse effectively, but not all practice is created equal. People have a natural tendency to avoid confrontation, so we avoid the situations where we could learn. In addition, when overwhelmed by a situation, it is difficult to process what happened and actually learn how to communicate better. In order to develop expertise in communication; practice must involve:

  • Understanding the situation and context,

  • Empathizing with the perspective of the other people in the conversation, and

  • Reflecting on outcomes, and

  • Repeating the experience in different scenarios.

Understanding: There are many cues in the environment that can help a person develop situation awareness. Developing situation awareness is very important for determining a communication strategy. A few exa