For today’s blog, here’s an exercise that will have you thinking.
Take a look at the letters below for about 10-15 seconds:
J FKFB IUP SHI VNA SAJ AN
Now, turn away and write as many letters as you can remember, without peeking!
If you’re like most people, you probably remembered around 7-10 letters, as that is the average. Compactness is essential when we are conveying information, as our conscious awareness can only hold a small amount of information at a time.
OK, when you’ve done that, scroll down to try the exercise again…
This time, I have put the same letters in the same order, but I’ve changed the way the letters are grouped.
Study the letters for about 10-15 seconds, then turn away and try remembering the sequence again by writing them down:
JFK FBI UPS HIV NASA JAN
Chances are you did better second time round, because the letters actually meant something to you and that made them easier to remember.
In the first exercise, I was asking you to recall raw data that didn’t mean anything, so you had nothing to ‘hook onto’. Second time, you were remembering concepts, like John F Kennedy, The FBI, UPS, the HIV virus, NASA and the shortened form of the month January.
How does this apply in the real world? Well, when you are communicating a message, remember that people hearing it will always (that’s ALWAYS) refer back to their own belief systems, their values, their opinions, their rules, their ideas, their standards and their conditioning to ascertain the MEANING of what is being said. They will refer back in their subconscious memories to determine whether they agree or not with what is being said. Then they check those associations with what is coming in through their senses.
If they can associate something with the concepts you are conveying, they then have an association with it, and this leads to an interpretation, and finally a level of understanding.
So, when you are communicating with someone, think about their level of understanding of the ideas, subjects and concepts at present. Then help them to associate the new ideas with what they already know, in a way that’s easy for them. That way, they can see the message clearer and it allows them to ‘see’ your meaning easier and with less misinterpretation.
(Image by David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhots.Net)
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.