I recently learned a method many successful individuals use to solve problems. It is to simply break things down into their simplest components. Some call it: “First Principles Thinking”, and I think it is genius. It makes perfect sense to simplify things down to their basic components in order to better understand them. I applied this to the concept of communication as a means to find ways to improve it. Below is a high level summary of what I found.
Language is the highest level and broadest category of communication. There are many types of languages: Sign, Computer, Industry, Foul, French, Chinese etc. Before any communication can begin, we must start by first using the same language. If I only speak German and need to communicate with someone who only speaks Spanish, I must find a way to use Spanish to communicate. I might hire an interpreter, learn Spanish, or use a computer to translate. No matter how I do it, the same language must be used to communicate.
Communication is complex and dynamic. In order to better understand, it makes it easier to break it down into its simplest forms. I have done so using 2 areas: The different parts of communication and the different barriers of communication. Please keep in mind that there is much overlap between these areas and within the subcategories of each.
Parts of Communication
I see communication as having four main components: Method (how communication occurs), Delivery (How the message is delivered), Receipt (how the messages is received), and Feedback (making sure the correct message was given and understood)
Video, Text, Sound, Pictures, Body Language, Conversation
Clarity, Trust, & Interest
Listening & Understanding
Giving & Receiving Feedback
Ensuring that what was sent was received and ensuring that what was received is what was sent