There is a normal cycle that should be followed in communications. It’s pretty straightforward and simple, but stop and think about it after you’ve read it. Give some serious thought about whether you follow the communication cycle and whether other people that you know follow the communication cycle. Think of some people that you know who abuse the cycle. The whole purpose of this is to gain more awareness of our communications so that we can be more effective.
First we bring up a subject. Or maybe it’s the other person that brings up a subject, but somebody brings up a subject and the other person listens. But the other person does more than listen. They show that they are listening by acknowledging what the person is saying and they do this by nodding, saying yes or showing in a nonverbal manner that they are paying attention to what is being said.
I should stop right here and state the obvious. When you’re talking to somebody and they are not looking at you or paying attention by acknowledging you, why do you keep talking to them! It’s a total waste of time! Something else that I shouldn’t need to say that I will, is that we should give acknowledgment when somebody is talking to us, and let them know that we are really listening to what they’re saying to us by nodding or in some other way acknowledging them.
At some point the person who is speaking pauses or stop speaking. This time the listener gives feedback or acknowledges what was just said. Perhaps they rephrase it in their own words, “Is this what you mean?” “I agree or disagree!” Maybe they just ask pertinent questions that encourages the speaker to continue on with the subject.
The original speaker listens and then gives feedback to what the listener has said in response. The original speaker acknowledges the feedback in some way or another. “Yes that is what I was trying to say.” “No, I was really trying to say this instead.”
The conversation then continues back and forth with each person alternately having a chance to speak, getting acknowledgment from the other person and then giving feedback of their own. When the subject is closed it then becomes the listeners turned to begin a new subject and the cycle is continued.
Now take a few minutes and think about whether your conversations follow this pattern and if they don’t follow this pattern why? Think of some abuses of this communication cycle and how it makes you feel when somebody goes on and on and on not really caring whether you are listening or not.
My mother used to be like that. She used to talk to me on and on and on without checking in to see whether I was even listening. There were times as a teen when I would go into the other room and come back after a few minutes and she was still sitting there talking to me! I’ve known other people that do the same thing! I like to think that I would notice if someone walked out of the room on me and I would stop talking!