In the basics of any Passion for Patients™ workshop, we begin with a discussion of barriers to effective communication. One of those barriers is noise. For our purposes, the definition for noise that we like to use is:
“Anything that causes the signal received to differ from that which is transmitted.”
In one of our early workshops, a young medical professional offered to share a quote that resonated with her. “In our society today, we listen in order to respond, not to understand.” As sad as this is, I think most of us will agree that it is certainly pervasive. Often, when someone says something with which we disagree, it is not uncommon for us to immediately start formulating a response. Or even a reaction. So we stop listening at that point. Therefore, the signal we are receiving differs from that which the speaker is transmitting. In many cases, we aren’t receiving anything.
It’s no wonder that we are so inept at resolving our differences. It’s too noisy in here!