--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [..HOME..][..TOP POSTS..][..NEW DROP LIST..][..LINKS..][..ADVERTISE..]

Monday, October 4, 2010

How a Complement can turn into an Insult - Communication Process

Interpersonal communication is indeed a tricky thing to manage. Messages are frequently distorted though the communication process, such that even an intended complement might even turn into an unintentional insult.

Case in point. I was talking with a good friend the other day. She pointed out something that i thought was very interesting. She actually felt offended when somebody complemented how hardworking she was.

How could this be, you might wonder? The adjective "hardworking" certainly must be complementary, one must imagine. The free online dictionary defines the word hardworking as "habitually working diligently and for long hours." Certainly this must be a complement, especially considering the Asian culture where we both come from, where the trait of being a hard worker is encouraged and celebrated.

In her opinion, she linked the word "hardworking" with requiring long hours of work and effort in order to get things done. This is opposed to someone who can achieve the same result with little effort.

This is an example as to how the message gets distored as it moves from the receiver to the sender. There is a process of coding and decoding of the message which distorts the message from its original meaning. As mentioned in the post "Understanding the Communication Process", this could be due to cultural factors as my friend has lived many years of her life in an European environment which is different from an Asian environment.

And that is how complementing someone as being hardworking can actually turn into an insult. And i'm not even referring to complements that sound like insults either or "complisults", an urban slang meaning a half-compliment and half-insult.

The point to take away from this message is that unintentional miscommunication frequently occurs in our daily lives. This can happen anywhere, from our home to our workplace. This is a result of many different distorting factors as information flows through the channel of communication.

There is a need to put in the extra effort to ensure that your message is properly received and interpreted by the other person. Continue to be mindful of other person's feelings and continue to develop your interpersonal communication skills.


Patricia Rockwell said...

How true. We really have to pay attention to the listener's reactions--particularly nonverbal reactions to make sure they are reading our messages the way we intend them.

Singapore singles dating said...

I agree too. The listener's non verbal clues speak louder than the spoken words almost all the time.

Mike Moyer said...

Excellent point. Understanding the listener is critical. Communication is fluid. The way we present our message must be changed as we receive feedback from our listener. That feedback is presented to us in many ways.

pravin cumar said...

very well said..do you feel that we should get a feedback from the listener every time we communicate?