Webster’s dictionary defines communication as “the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”
This definition offers three keys for making communication relational.
- Process. Communication is a process. It is not a single phone call or text or email. Good communication requires follow-through, which means a response to that email or clarification when a response is misunderstood. When communication follows a process, communication is more clear.
- Exchange. An exchange is not one-sided. It involves sending and receiving messages. While listening is commonly overlooked in everyday communication, it is crucial to the exchange.
- Common system. A breakdown in communication occurs when individuals are not using a common language system. Jargon and slang can also cause this breakdown. Seek to use common language and speak in terms that others understand.