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Quick communication exercise

This is a small exercise that I picked up, illustrating how easily we are susceptible to misunderstandings, even in situations where no misunderstandings are to be expected.

“A lake exercise”

  1. Imagine a lake, let it be classical and generic.
  2. Now all of your team members should do the same.
  3. Let each team member describe his or her lake. Let them elaborate on its size, scenery, vessels or colour.
  4. As they do so, it becomes quite apparent that our descriptions of lakes are rather different.

The important question to ask is: “How can we trust no misunderstandings to occur if such a simple term as a lake creates such a variation in description. We often assume that common terms are universally understood. However, words such as simple, convenient, good or bad are subject to exactly the same interpretation. In a way no single person speaks the same language, simply because meanings attached to the words are based on the unique experiences of that particular individual.

Thus it is important to ensure that extra care is taken in situations where parties come from different backgrounds. Senior and junior, consultant and client, ambitious and timid, all of these personal differences create different lakes.

~ Alexey Mitko

Categories: Uncategorized
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