I'm often asked by people about the rules of effedtive communication.  What defines effective communication?  How do you do it?  How do you communicate without upsetting people?  How do you make sure everyone gets your drift?

One of the foundation assumptions of Neuro Linguistic Programming is that "The meaning, or definition of communication is decided by the person receiving that communication as defined by the response you get."  (The wording is mine but the definition is correct)

Many NLP experts, or practitioners at the "basic" and "master" levels, are taught that they need to take the above definition to mean that the speaker, or expressor, is entirely responsible for how their message is received.  Well surprise, surprise, because I, on the other hand, have a different take on it.  And the reason I have a different view is because, when you get down to it, that definition just doesn't stand up in the cold light of hard scrutiny because it's only half true.

I know there are experts out there thinking "Them's fightin' words!" but let me continue.

The reason I say it's only half true is because all communication happens between more than one person.  So to place all the responsibility for the entire meaning of the communication on the expressor, just one person in the relationship, is just plain... well... irresponsible.

That's why I think, feel, believe (using my kinesthetic sense there) that we, as helping professionals, whether we're NLP practitioners, coaches, consellors, hypnotists, therapists, nurses, teachers, doctors or whichever class of helping professional we are, would be far better served by a more complete definition, or interpretation of this presupposition, or assumption, if you will.

"The meaning, or definition of communication is decided by the person receiving that communication as defined by the response you get."

I interpret this presupposition to mean that I, as the speaker, or writer, as the originator of this communication, hold the responsibility for making my message as clear to you, the reader, as I possibly can.  That's where my responsibility begins and ends.

Your reaction to what I have to say is your choice and, therefore, your responsibility.  As I am completely unable to control what goes inside your head or heart without being a surgeon, your reaction is entirely your responsibility.

So, in other words, what we have is a shared and equal division of the responsibility of how communication is defined and interpreted.  And when we have personal responsibility for our parts in communication, we are then less able to assign blame.

Which is probably why my idea will never take off. 



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    G'day everyone.  I'm an Aussie Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotist (www.americanallianceofhypnotists.org)  and author with a passion for making every relationship in our lives the best it can be.   I work at local, state, national and international levels.  I am also a Callahan Techniques Thought Field Therapy practitioner trained by Eugene Piccinotti TFT - dx, and I studied Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner Level (MNLP) under Steve G Jones at the American University of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
    (http://www.aunlp.org).  In other words, as a coach, I'll use whatever I have to use to help you to make the changes you want to make.