Communication is something that is common to everyone. Whether verbal or nonverbal, we all have to pass across information to other people. Generally speaking, communication is usually between two parties, the sender and the receiver. Apart from this, two people to communicate, there must be a sense of commonality between them and this might as well be the same language. As human beings, our survival depends greatly on communication. This is because we are interdependent on each other and each person has a role to play in the life of the other person.
Thus, we must communicate to ask for what we want, to sell our idea to the other person and to make request from the other party. In fact, one might as well say that the heart of human existence lies in communication. According to Pearson, faulty communication causes the most problems (Pearson, 1983). There are a lot of factors that influences our communication. These factors sum up to determine the way a person communicate and how the person responds to the information that he/she gets from the sender.
These factors might as well be called barriers to communication and they include cultural background, noise, our perception of the receiver, our environment and the greatest among them is our personal self. In this essay, my focus would be on identifying how we stand in the way of our communication and specifically how our personal goals might stand in the way of our communication with other people. As human beings, “some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity). ” (Clark, 1997).
All these situations occur when we already have a fixed idea, a specific goal or we are not accommodating to the ideas of the other person. Judging from my personal experience, I will discuss a situation in which my personal goals affected my communication with others. As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by anything that has to deal with the military. Perhaps this was due to the fact that my father once served with the US army and fought in Vietnam. When I was just a toddler, all my toys were collections of fighter jets, decorated military officers, guns and other toys that depicted war.
My father used to tell me stories about Vietnam and how soldiers fought for their country and motherland. At a tender age, my ultimate goal in life was to be a military/combat officer doing the same things in the stories that my father told me. I could not see myself more than being in the battlefront, fighting for the country that I love. This goal grew up with me and I guess it has influenced me all the way. It has formed my belief system, my voting record, those that I choose as role models, who I will vote for in the next presidential elections and the way I communicate with other people.
As a junior high school student, I was chosen to participate in a class discussion on career day. Each student was called upon to choose a profession and talk about it; why you love it, what you admire in the profession and any information you know about the profession. Happy about being given the chance to talk opening about the profession I have admiration for, I stood up and said all I could about being a military officer, what they do and how they lay their lives for their country so that other people can be free and safe.
At the end of each discussion, other students get to ask questions about the profession and that the speaker just discussed. When I was through with my speech, it was time for questions. I stood in front of the class thinking that everybody would agree with what I said. Then, Mark, one of my classmates and football teammate raised his hands and said that he believes that military was just a waste of time and that they just fight for an unjust cause. He said a lot of things about the Vietnam War and how it was a waste of time and money.
I stood there filled with resentment for him but as I was about to lash back at him, our teacher called for a break. However, I felt offended by what he said in the class. Whenever we were together, I try my best to ignore him because I do not him intelligent. I even stopped going to training when he was made the football captain. I would not have anything to do with him and I did not even want to see him. This continued until our final class in high school when we were in the same group in biology class.
Our teacher made me the group leader and he was my assistant. I was not happy about this but I could not do anything about it. Initially, I did my best to avoid him but he was always coming to me with a smile and trying to crack a joke with me. It did take a while but we are now on good terms but we are not as close as before. Years later, I think of how things might have turned out if I had been more evaluative about my goals. I guess what happened to me was that I was too full of myself and I just thought that everybody must agree with me on my beliefs.
For instance, I imagine what would have happened if I have clarified with myself that my goals were personal to me and that other people have the right to kick or speak against them. Perhaps I would have turned the discussion into an interesting and informative topic that would being of interest to my teacher and other students or maybe I would have simply laughed over what he said. Summarily, I have come to discover that it is hard for us as human beings to separate ourselves from our personal goals, belief system and our world view of things.
However, if our communication is to be effective and without bias, we must learn to clearly define these things and keep them personal to ourselves.
Pearson, J. (1983). Interpersonal Communication. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foreman and Company. Mehrabian, Albert and Morton Wiener, 1967, “Decoding of inconsistent communications,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 6:109-114 Clark, D. (1997). Communication & Leadership. Retrieved from http://www. nwlink. com/~Donclark/leader/leadcom. html on November 1, 2008