The Meaning of a Message Is the Response it Elicits
To be able to do so, we first need the ability to recognize what effect our message actually has on another. Then, if the response is not what we had hoped for, we need the flexibility to change our message in a way that will increase our chances of obtaining the desired result. Although people are infinitely varied in individual traits, they have enough in common so that we can predict with a reasonable degree of accuracy how they will respond to the kinds of messages we usually need to prepare and deliver in a business context.
Sensory acuity requires that you attend to the external environment. In face-to-face communication, that means paying attention to others, to what they are actually saying (the language being used), to how they are saying it (rate of speech, tone of voice, and stressed words), and to whether their nonverbal messages support or contradict the verbal messages. Paying attention to the external is more difficult than it would seem. In conversations, most people attend more to what they want to say next than they do to what the other person is actually saying. Have you ever missed an important piece of the conversation because you were busy planning what you were going to say next?
Even though the nonverbal aspects of a message (including paralanguage) often convey most of the meaning, people often fail to notice what should be an obvious message. Have you ever heard someone say that something was true while shaking his or her head no? How did you respond to the negative head shake?
Sensory acuity also plays a role in telephone conversations and in written communication. Because most telephones do not yet convey visual images, communicators need to pay close attention to what and how something is said. Even in written communication, the language used may convey moreor lessthan the writer intended.