Hearing what isn’t said

Communication is a process and not a singular event. It extends from the meaning that the messenger selects and then through all the subsequent steps of converting the meaning into a message which he transmits as information making up a communiqué directed at a particular recipient.


The process continues till it is received, interpreted and reconverted into meaning in the recipient’s mind. But the process is not complete until the messenger gets the feedback confirming that his intended meaning has been successfully transferred.

Some are skilled at speaking in ways that sound innocent or helpful when they are actually selfish and unhelpful. They use quiet tones and cover their intent with compliments. Frequently they flatter. However, if you wait for the smoke to clear you’ll see they are protecting their own turf, passing the buck, or blaming others.

To be sure of hearing right what it isn’t said, we must observe and experience a lot of different situations. This requiers time and experience, we must become a good people reader, realist one, judging reality -not hearing what we want to hear but hearing the truth what it is not said . People are very different.

Ultimately the sender of a message is the only person who has ‘knowledge’ of its full intent. They express some of it through body language, hidden phrases and code language etc.

The art of listening is the art of checking with the sender to see if we are reading the verbals and non-verbals correctly. The good listener will hear, will check with the sender to see if he is understanding, and will release the sender to have discoveries of their own in the process.

Summing-up: Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” As listeners, we must hear what is really being said without reading into what is being said.

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