“You are responsible for what you say, but not for how people understand it”. If you agree with it, to my mind you have lack of basic knowledge about communication.
As you know, communication is a process in which there are two or more people involved. Anyone who takes part in communication, is responsible for it, at least for a part of it. So you’re responsible, too.
Where does communication start?
Communication isn’t one direction message which is delivered by you. It is a quite complicated process and your words are a part of it. The true communication starts after your words have been said. So remember: it doesn’t end at the moment when you say them.
If you deliver a message, think how your words will be understood, because it is the main reason to say them – you want to be understood well, don’t you? Think about what result they may bring and what emotion they can evoke. This is called empathy and without it both communication and understanding don’t exist.
When are you fully responsible for communication?
If you are understood in a different way than you wished, think about your message and your words. Check if they are precise enough, clear enough and suitable for their receiver. It happens that 100% resposibility is on your side, because you cannot communicate. Work on being understood the way you wished to be.
The main aim of communication is being understood (it’s not saying words). On communication depends: cooperation, relations, good business, interesting talks, etc. So do not focus on your words and yourself, but on the person who you communicate with.
How much ‘I’ is in your communication?
Yes, you are responsible for what you say, so treat communication seriously! Ask questions and use paraphrasing to make sure how you were understood. We still too seldom use these basic techniques because we too often think: communication means me.
If you say words just for yourself and your ego is happy and tells you: ‘well said and how they understand it is their business, not yours’, it means to me that you have no idea what communication is. So maybe start from the communication schema by Jakobson.
Proofreader: Marta Korsak.communication, personalbranding, talk