Nov 24, 2014

Communication – Allness

In spite of the vastness of our universe, some people believe that they know everything about anything. You probably know at least one person like that. What people like this forget is that they, like everyone else, abstract information for several reasons and here are two:
1) We have filters set up based on our belief system and we allow in what associates with our beliefs and discard information that doesn’t.
2) We are surrounded by 2 terabytes of information at any single moment, but we can only process 11 megabytes in that same moment. So, we don’t have the capacity to take in all the information around us and know it.

In other words, it’s impossible to know everything about anything.

You, see, the attitude of those who are unaware that they are abstracting and thus they assume that what they say or know is absolute, definitive, complete, certain, all-inclusive, positive, final and all there is (or at least all there is that is important or relevant) to say or know about the subject. How does that make you feel when you’re around such a person? How well does communication flow?

Even in day-to-day conversation a person can find themselves “Alling” all over themselves.

  • The person you’re speaking with starts into a subject and you hold your hand up as if to physically stop them from talking and you tell them, “I already know all about that”.
  • In a meeting, you have someone object to time being taken to discuss a subject because they already know what needs to be known about it.
  • A person runs off after you’ve given them instructions without asking questions and assuming they know everything they need to know.
  • Thankfully, there are ways to combat Allness.
    1) Develop genuine humility
    Humility – A deep conviction that you can never know or say everything about anything
    To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great first step toward knowledge
    2) Add etcetera
    This acknowledges that there is, or may be, more on the subject
    3) Do you have an “All-Wall”?
    How often are you so consumed with preparing a rebuttal that you don’t stop to paraphrase what you just heard?
    Postpone evaluation by taking these steps:
    1. Receiving: postpone evaluation of the message
    2. Constructing meaning: set aside bias and prejudice
    3. Responding: clarify meaning by asking questions

    These steps go a long way to creating real understanding when attempting to communicate!

    (The information contained in the posts and newsletters on “Communication” are taken from my training titled “Stealth Communication” which is available to organizations that desire to increase their overall effectiveness and productivity. Contact me for details.)

    Creating life in forward motion,

    Dr. Edward Lewellen