Why is most communication training misleading?

Unfortunately, much of what is taught in common communication training and seminars is based on an out-moded and out of date understanding about how human communication actually works.

Many seminars teach that communication involves a sender and a receiver, and that they take turns either sending information, or receiving information. In face-to-face communication, that simply is not true. This incorrect notion about how people communicate is based on what is called the telegraphic model, which is based on how early methods of electronic communication worked. The telegraph only permitted one way communication at any given time, so in the telegraphic model, there is, at any given moment, one sender, and one receiver, and then they switch.

Unfortunately, many communication trainers use this outdated idea of how communication works.

The truth is that in face-to-face communication both people are sending and receiving at the same time, influencing each other in real time and simultaneously. This may seem odd because it seems like one person talks and the other listens, and then they switch roles. But communication is not just about the words said, but about non-verbal communication also. Non-verbal communication goes on all the time regardless of who is talking and who is not talking. One person may be talking and the other may be communicating agreement, disagreement, hurt feelings, anger, etc, at the same time as the other is talking.


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