The "myths and realities" of communication
The communication process isn't as straight-forward as we think it is. Often, the message we send across to another isn't interpreted as we'd hope it'll be. Misinterpretations or better known as misunderstandings cause problems that could've well been avoided. Misunderstanding is just one of the products of the myths of communication. These myths are wrong perceptions of communication. They are wrong principles of communication that we assume are right.
One of the myths of communication is that we communicate only when we consciously and deliberately choose to communicate. However, fact is, we sometimes send messages unconsciously and when we do not intend to as well. This may be in the form of a delayed reply to a business offer, causing the offerer to assume that you are no longer interested in that offer.
Another myth is that words mean the same thing to our listeners as they do to us.
The basis for this myth is that we assume words have the same meaning for everyone. This is not entirely true. While common words like 'chair' most probably will not be misunderstood, the word 'apple' may carry different meanings to different people other than a fruit. To some it might be the 'Apple' computer. Meanings of words can be divided into denotative and connotative parts. Denotative meanings are those that have commonly agreed upon meanings. Connotative meanings are ideas suggested by or associated with a word or thing. For example, 'chair' in a connotative sense might bring to mind a rocking chair or a bar stool. In unclear situations, we tend to agree on denotative meanings. Wrong perceptions of connotative meanings will cause misunderstandings.
The third myth is that we communicate primarily with words. Verbal communication is in fact one of the main ways...