Telling Aint Communicating

Some years ago, the maxim "telling aint training" appeared in the Training and Employee Development field.

I believe it is derived from this old saying about learning:

~ I hear, I forget; I see, I understand; I do, I remember.

The bottom line for training is that telling (e.g. lectures) is not enough. To ensure retention and application of learning, show examples and give learners the opportunity to do (i.e., practice) so that they will remember.

This idea is applicable to the area of communication too. How many times have we heard someone exclaim in exasperation, "How could they say they didn't know? I told them!"

Therefore, on this day the 30th of November 2006, I hereby coin the new phrase: Telling Aint Communicating. All readers of this blog are encouraged to spread the word!

Just as with retention of knowledge from training, if we want retention of information from communicating, we need to do more than tell. Working in parallel to the old saying, here are two ideas:

Show = Communicate visually. Use diagrams, graphics, pictures, symbols, etc. Use more media than just words or print.

Do = Communicate interactively. Talk with the intended audience. Use the phone rather than e-mail. If possible, speak with them in person.

Further, as communicators we need to be aware that there are always barriers to communication that may be blocking the transmission and/or reception of our message. Some of these barriers are inside the receiver, such as language, boredom, tiredness, distraction, lack of interest, dislike (of the sender), resistance, and other mental noise.

And remember that communication has not fully taken place unless we confirm in some way that our message has been received and understood.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 11/30/06

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