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The three great fallacies of communication

  • Published at 11:41 pm January 13th, 2020
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Communication is an interesting area to be working in and one that almost everyone claims expertise in. In Bangladesh, more so than perhaps in other countries, communica-tion is often mistaken as the correct sequencing of individual words to convey an approx-imate sentiment.

Given that a good sentence is so often misconstrued as good communication, there are bound to be experts everywhere; add in a few choice “buzz words” or pepper on some high thought jargon, and you have the icing on the cake. It’s really that easy… or is it?

Below is my list of the three great fallacies of communication from my experience:

I speak so, I communicate

It is all too common to believe that all those who can speak can also communicate effec-tively. While communicating is as easy as talking clearly, communicating an official stand or representing an organization or brand requires a little more finesse.

For effective communication, there is a need for preparation. Most times it is practice that makes communication seem candid, honest, and definitive. Communication is effective only if it is precise and purposeful.

I tell stories so, I communicate

While it is always good to appear knowledgable, it is never a good thing to communicate too much. Or too little.

Coming back to practicing, preparation helps ensure that what needs to be said is said while eliminating fluff -- information that may be good to know but actually detracts from the main message.

Even staying on the message could go wrong unless the content or scope of the mes-sage has been defined to the target audience. An audience’s appetite for information is as important to understand as the depth of the details provided.

Audiences automatically place trust on whoever speaks but that trust can just as easily retract if the content seems like fluff or is imprecise on the takeaway for the listener -- an easy trap to fall into without the proper preparation or predefined core intent of the com-munication exercise.

A bored or overwhelmed audience is as good as an empty purpose.

I enunciate so, I communicate

An ability to enunciate or speak clearly does not necessarily equate to effective commu-nication unless there is a self-containing core message. Grammar never ensures content.

It is essential for effective communication that the ideas shared has the very substance to convey what is intended and not just verbiage lost in fluidity, flair, and candour.

Language and its proper usage is an added value when there is a clear focus on the main message.

This is of course not to discount clear enunciation or grammar, which are both important in communication, but rather that without a defined, understood intent it could all too easi-ly become beautifully orchestrated fluff.

Fallacies aside, in all effective communication, choice of words to define a problem or so-lution or achievement or failure is absolutely key to effective communication.

Words matter, for example, there is a gulf of a difference between “announcing” and “dis-closing” -- either of which is a precise communication exercise but with different purpose and intent. It matters enough to not second guess.

Talat Kamal is a PR and Communications Consultant with more than 24 years of experi-ence in corporate and media communications.