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 responding 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 communication breakdown 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.