Communication is what the listener does

My last post got me thinking about this even more: Communication is what the listener does. That’s what Peter Drucker told us.

We treat communication as talking, speaking, writing, emailing, posting, updating. We think of notice boards, bulletin boards, lectures, monologues, no-reply mass emails, broadcasts, multicasts and delivering messages.

So what is wrong with this? Well nothing – other than that it is at best incomplete and at worst misleading. Communication is all of the above – and much more. They are all necessary but not sufficient for communication. Image

A professor of mine told us once that his job – or for that matter job of any teacher – is first to get down to the intellectual level of his audience, the students, talk to them in a language they understand and make them ask questions. It is not easy to do so because it requires first knowing the intellectual level and capacity of those being taught and second to talk to them in a language and structure that they can absorb. A teacher talking at her intellectual level far above that of students in a class room is like a radio channel transmitting at a frequency that no one can tune to.

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