I Just delivered my 2nd Toastmaster speech this afternoon. I am not very satisfied with my show. I can do it better if I really did well preparation previously. Anyway, here it is. Feel free give me your suggestion or comments. Thank in advance.
Communication is harder than we expect
Good afternoon, dear fellow toastmasters. My speech title is communication is hard than we expect. Improving our communication skill has been talking about many many times. In my memory, almost every meeting, such as staff meeting, opg all-heads, even ERI all-heads, we are told communication skill still be the most important area we should improve. Maybe, you still think communication is not as hard as we have emphasized.
Let me tell you why communication is hard than we expect.
First, what is communication? A simple definition, communication is the way of information exchange between different people. So, there are at least two parties involved in a conversation, and it includes three basic phases: Coding, transferring and decoding. When someone want to present some information, such as concept, idea, thought or feelings. First of all, he or she need to organize it by language logically. That is coding. Notice that, there is a gap between your idea, feeling or thought and language. Say, some information is lost at this coding phase. Then, the information will be transferred to the audience. Notice again, there is another gap between language and speaking. More information is lost, too. Now, this just is half of the communication. Moreover, this is not the most critical phase for a successful the communication. What is the most important section for a successful communication? It is decoding, the receiver’s understanding. The audience will have a reverse process as the speaker did. Again, more information is lost during this reverse process. The receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that he or she can understand.
Now, you can see communication is a complex coding and decoding process which could cause much misunderstanding and incorrect understanding. The analysis above just came from technical level. However, communication does not only includes technical skill, but also art knowledge, social knowledge and cultural knowledge.
Different culture could have different communication methods. I used to read a story about an American woman who married to a Japanese. At very beginning, she can only speak a little bit Japanese. She try to involve group conversation once she can understand a little bit. One strange phenomenon she began to notice that often, the talking will be halt after a while she participated. Finally, after listening carefully to many Japanese conversation, sh discovered what the problem is.
She said, as western-style conversation between two people is like a game of tennis. If I introduce a topic, a conversational ball, I expect you to hit it back. I don’t expect you just agree nod and do nothing. I expect you can add something, a reason for your agreeing. I expect you question me, challenge me and even disagree with me. Just like your response will return the ball to me. There is no waiting in line. If there are more than then two people in the conversation, then it like doubles in tennis or volleyball.
A Japanese-style conversation, however, is not tennis or volleyball, it is bowling. You wait for your turn. When your moment comes, you step up to the start line with your own ball. Everyone else stands back, make sounds of polite encouragement. Everyone waits until your ball has reached the end of the lane, and watch to see if it knocks down all the pins. Then there is a pause, while everyone registers your score. Then, after everyone is sure you are done, the next person in line with different ball. Different culture create different game rule. Sometime, that leads into a huge gap between sender and receiver than we might image.
But, even we have the same language and the same cultural background, communication is still not easy. It also depends on the method how do you present your idea. Depends on the audience knowledge, depends on their attitude towards you, depends on the trust and the relationship.
Now that I have talked about communication from technical and non-technical perspectives. Neither of them are piece of cake. Good communication need we spend much time to practise, because communication is really harder than we expect.