Today we will continue with our series on miscommunication, and the damage it can bring if people don’t make the effort to communicate well. I used to coach a kids soccer team and on the soccer field communication is a huge difference maker in how the team performs. On a soccer field (or most sports that move at speed) communication has to be to the point, focused, and easily understood. As I would tell my players, communication needs two things, a sender and a receiver. Just because someone is talking it doesn’t mean they are communicating, you need someone to listen. Equally, there are a lot of people who listen to someone who doesn’t really have much to say, at least of substance.
The problem, as we have discussed before, is that it is easier to accept things at face value than it is to investigate the truth of what we are told. Here’s a real life example. I’m a Stevenage FC supporter, but because I don’t live in England anymore I can’t get to games. I rely on reports and feedback from other fans. If we have a penalty awarded against us and lose a game, but the Stevenage fans think it was a bad call, I will believe them. We all support Stevenage, I trust them, why would they lie?
This applies in many areas. Sport, cable news, politics, current affairs, you name it, this principle applies. We trust people we have something in common with. Why wouldn’t we? If we associate with them, and we’re not liars, cheats, or possess poor judgment, neither would the people we associate with, right?
And this is why people believe lies and biases, and worse, why we repeat them. And to be honest, why wouldn’t we? With the pace at which information is thrown at us, it is easy to miss the important stuff and accept things because, well, they seem right and we want to believe it.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Communication requires two people. If only one person is actively involved they are talking to themselves.
2 – Breaking from a bias is difficult, especially if we trust the person telling us about an event or situation. If it is a person we trust, and we like the information we hear, it makes it easy to believe.
3 – Social media isn’t real. In fact, it is more unreal than any other communication we encounter and people rarely question anything.
We all want our identity validated, and we want our beliefs confirmed. This is only natural, but social media is not the place to find that home.