Thursday, August 17, 2006

Suppressed Message

As I have pointed out in several past issues, there are many reasons why people have communication breakdowns. Looking at the various reasons helps in our understanding as well as assists us in improved connections with other people. This in turn enables us to get our message across more effectively.

Whether intentional or not, one of these areas is the suppressed message.

Quite often, we focus most on the information that is important to us and we leave out the rest. This can give a very lop sided view of the events or situation. I find that some teens are a master of this, though there are some politicians who are probably are a close second.

A teen may tell you that they want to spend the night at a friends house. They tell you that his or her parents are there and that they will be safe.
The suppressed message is that the parents don’t know that you are staying overnight and that they are going out themselves. The teen may have also left out that others were also invited to this gathering.

Another example would be a teen asking if they can go to the movies. You are concerned about them hanging out with a certain person and you ask, "You're not going with John, are you?" The teen smiles and say not, not to worry that she is going with Sally, while all along she knows that John will be there.

Some adults have used this device and kids watch what their parents do. For example, if you ever phoned into work and said, "I can’t come into work today as I woke up feeling very sick.", and you knew it was because you partied the night before, you are using suppressed message. As well, you are teaching those watching you.

You are asking, isn't there ever a time for a suppressed message and I would say yes. However it depends upon your motives for doing so.

Ask yourself, is it to deceive or is it to protect?

If a colleague or friend asks you what you think about their outfit, painting, project etc and you really don’t like it, being polite can better than insulting them. And yes there is a time for critiquing, but many people are not trained in how to do it properly and just end up hurting the other person. Just because we don't like something doesn't mean that a lot of other people won't like it either. Everyone has different tastes and opinions.

When you are trying to find out information from another person. Ask yourself, "Am I getting the full story here?" "What other questions might I ask that could help me get the bigger picture?"

As well, when you are trying to get someone to understand you. Ask yourself, "What might have I left out?" "What else should they know?" Am I keeping something back?"

Leaving things out could lead the person to a hasty conclusion. But that is another issue for another week.

All the Best!
Maria Boomhower
The Master Communicator
Communication Mastery
Communication Mastery Articles

P.S. Check out the past issues of:
Golden Falcon Recommends

P.S. If you like what you're reading in this
newsletter, you'll love the book,
"Overcoming Barriers to Communication"

It's an interactive manual that takes you through the steps to help
you overcome challenges in communicating and connecting with others.
Overcoming Barriers to Communication

Have a great week!