Why don't people understand what you're saying?

Or---Why do't WE understand when people are talking to US?

Created: September 23, 2012


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When you think about things, you are often developing one general idea or thought at a time.
Since this is going on inside YOUR OWN brain, all the "support" material for that thought is right there in YOUR memory where your "thinking engine" can get at it.

When you take your idea or thought to the outside world, that is, you start talking to someone, you need to make sure they have the benefit of enough of the "support" material that is in YOUR memory so they can understand what it is that you are attempting to convey.

The Communication Threshold

This process of "going public" (starting to talk out loud) is a very important transition if you want to be understood. I call it the "Communication Threshold"..

Many people don't realize that they simply start talking while they are still developing their thought internally.

Examples:
The use of pronouns----
When you are thinking your thought, YOU know who you are thinking about, so you can use pronouns internally, all you want, without becoming confused.
But, when you start talking out loud, "they" and "them" have little value when you keep the "support" material (the actual names of the people involved) to yourself. To YOU, "they" could represent several different people and, internally, you'd have no trouble keeping track.
But try that on "the outside" and the listener will soon become confused and disinterested.

Internal shorthand:------
You may use abbreviations or synonyms internally that you made up or heard in your youth.
These are words or phrases that make it faster and easier for you in YOUR own thinking and reasoning processes. But is it fair to expect others to somehow automatically be able to translate Your Personal Shorthand into something meaningful in the outside world?

Back to the "Communication Threshold".
Think of this "going public" business as a line on a graph. (See Graph, below).
Everything that goes on BELOW the "Threshold" line is internal; inside YOUR brain.
At the moment that the thought goes "external" (ABOVE the line, when you start to TALK),
the ONLY thing that the listener will know is by hearing and understanding the words and the idea(s) that you weave as they come tumbling from your mouth.
You would NOT just draw a graph line on a blackboard in front of a room full of people and expect them to understand what it meant, would you? (You'd label the X and Y axes, wouldn't you?)
By the same token then, you have to identify (to the listener) the internal "support" (who, what, when, where and why)material that makes the thought itself useful to the outside world.

Why People Don't Understand Me

This graph shows how a thought process needs to work if you want people to understand you.
-The curvy line in black is Your THOUGHT developing in your mind.

-The little RED circles are the supporting material that you use internally as you develop YOUR thought.
-The horizontal RED line (the THRESHOLD) is the point at which the thought emerges as YOUR spoken words.
      That's where the "thought line" turns GREEN to show that the world is now hearing you.
-The Green circles are the points at which you bring the support materials out into the open so people can understand your internal thought process and therefore can understand what you are talking about.

You ALWAYS have to think about this communication mechanism from the standpoint of the LISTENER'S understanding. If they don't understand YOU, it doesn't matter at all what you WANT to say.