Improving Communication Part 2

Non Verbal

Non Verbal Communication is an important part of communication.

Here is another example of non-verbal communication.  (Notice how he uses Mehrabian’s percentages of how much Non-verbal we use.  It doesn’t matter that he is wrong, the point is the same.)


Facial Expressions

Reading Facial Expressions are an important part of understanding non-verbal communication.  Paul Ekman did a lot of very important research into facial expressions.




You could not drive a car without feedback – think about all the little adjustments you make to keep the car going where you want it to go at the speed you want.  We make those adjustments because of the feedback we get from the car and the road.  Think how you break for a red light.  The amount of pressure you put on the breaks is a result of feedback you get as to how well you are stopping.

Just as you cannot drive without feedback, you cannot communicate without feedback.  Think of the difference between a “speech” and an “interaction.”  A “speech” implies all the stimulus is coming from the speaker.  A speech could be recorded and broadcast.  In that case the speaker gets no feedback.  Interaction however implies stimulus is coming from both the speaker and the listener.

Communication implies interaction not a speech.  Communication is a journey mapped out by feedback.  Communication is like driving a car where you have someplace to go, and you use feedback to help you get there.

Remember my model of communication?

Feedback is how the parties know if they are getting closer to the goal.  Communication is like a continuous game of “Marco Polo.”[104]

Feedback is vital to communication.  How many times has this happened to you?  You’re talking on the phone and after a while, you or the other person says, “Are you there?”  They were looking for feedback.  They were looking for an occasional “mmmm” or “aaah” or “yes, I understand.”  Without this feedback communication is very difficult.

This now goes back to the discussion of “bandwidth” and “mediated/non-mediated communication.”  We get the most feedback in face-to-face communication because we have the highest bandwidth and it’s non-mediated.  When I say highest bandwidth I mean that we can get all the nonverbal channels, sight, sound and smell.  You can see head nods, smiles, changes in posture, etc.

Feedback on a mass scale is usually in the form of surveys, public opinion polls, student evaluations, employee comments, and so on.

I read a study once, that scores plummeted when the sound was turned off on some computer games.  The thinking is that the sound provided important feedback.  And we know that tactile feedback is important in keyboards.  I could not find the study that proves this, but it sound reasonable.[105]

Feedback is defined by Norbert Wiener, often referred to as the father of “Cybernetis,” as, “In its simplest form the feedback principle means that a behavior is tested with reference to its result and success or failure of this result influences the future behavior.”[106]

A good way to understand how feedback works in human communication is to study a poker game.  Poker requires a lot of feedback.  And a live game with everyone sitting around a table provides a lot more feedback than online poker.

There are 2 aspects to feedback;

  1. conscious vs. unconscious
  2. feedback intended to help the parties achieve the stated goal vs. feedback intended to mislead the parties.



Helpful feedback vs. intentionally misleading feedback

Carl Rogers listed five main categories of feedback. [107] They are listed in the order in which they occur most frequently in daily conversations. Notice that we make judgments more often than we try to understand:

  1. Evaluative: Making a judgment about the worth, goodness, or appropriateness of the other person’s statement.
  2. Interpretive: Paraphrasing – attempting to explain what the other person’s statement means.
  3. Supportive: Attempting to assist or bolster the other communicator.
  4. Probing: Attempting to gain additional information, continue the discussion, or clarify a point.
  5. Understanding: Attempting to discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements.

Here are some examples of how to use feedback.




I could spend a lot more time talking about these fundamental actionable elements of communication.  But hopefully you get my point.  The more you understand these fundamental elements the more you can use them for your benefit.



Barriers to effective communication/Barriers to getting what you want.

When I first wrote this section I wrote, “Barriers to communication.”  Then I tried to figure out what was actionable about this section.  I asked myself, “Self, what are you trying to say here?”  I then changed the section title to, “Barriers to getting what you want!”  Then I changed it back.  Then I decided to use both titles.

Here is why I’m not sure what to call this section.  As I have said all along the purpose of communication is to achieve some intent.  You want something that you cannot get on your own, so you communicate.   If there are barriers to communication then there are barriers to getting what you want.  So any barrier to communication is a barrier to getting what you want.  Hopefully this makes sense.

What’s actionable in this section is that if you know the barriers to something you can figure out a way to get around them.  If you know the barriers you can develop a plan to avoid them.  If you know the barriers you can work on skills to overcome them.  I have sixty year old eyes, which means I cannot see close up.  I know I have this barrier so I have reading glasses to help me.  I also forget things.  I know that’s a barrier, so I have reading glasses in every car and every room of the house , in my workshop and in my desk at the office.  So knowing I need glasses and knowing I forget things, I have developed a strategy to overcome the barrier; I leave reading glasses everywhere I might need them so I’ll always have them to read.

(I’m going to talk about this more in Chapter 5 when I talk about decision making.  But, if you don’t mind, I want to point something else out about my decision to leave reading glasses everywhere I might need them.  Notice that I made the decision that being able to read is more important than the cost of having reading glasses everywhere.  If the cost of a pair of reading glass was a $1,000.  I would not have them everywhere.  But since the cost is only about $10, and I have old pairs laying around, why not just distribute reading glasses everywhere.)

Barriers to effective communication are things that get in the way of good communication. 

It would actually be practically impossible to achieve communication at all, let alone good communication, without a good understanding of the barriers to effective communication.  I find it interesting that these barriers are often overlooked when trying to communicate.  Yet, these barriers have a tremendous affect on our view of the communication, our view of the other people we are communicating with, and even our view of our own communication competence.



A term we often use to describe the barriers to effective communication is “Noise.”

You will notice that Noise is not a stated part of my definition of communication, “Communication is the process by which people exchange information to achieve some purpose.”  However, Noise is an integral part of the whole.

I define Noise as anything that interferes with the intended communication.

Sometimes noise is limited to only one communication element.  For example, if one person is tired their decoding and encoding process will be less effective than normal.  Or for example, if you are in a crowed bar with very loud music playing, the verbal channel would be less than optimal.

However, it is absolutely critical to note:

Noise is in every communication element and action. 

Noise is in the sender when they construct a message.  Noise is in the Channel/media that transmits the message, and noise is in the receiver that is trying to decode the message.

You cannot completely get rid of noise you can only reduce it to the point where it will not affect your ability to achieve your intent of the communication.

So, the better you are at understanding what the noise barrier is, the better you will be at overcoming that barrier and the better you will be at achieving your message.

It might not be an exaggeration to say that the heart of finding ways to improve our communication is to find ways of first recognizing and then overcoming the barriers to effective communication. Understanding the barriers to effective communication is so important that I’ll spend a whole section on it.

In practice, much can happen to cause problems during communication.  MUCH!.  My experience is that on average there is more wrong with communication than right.  Some situations require that communication be as effective as possible, like air traffic controller, hospital operating rooms, and military operations.  As a result, air traffic controllers, surgeons, and the military spend a lot of time working on communication to make sure there are no problems.



Barriers to Effective Communication


There are three broad categories of barriers:

  1. Barriers that are a normal part of communication, can be predicted and occur with almost every communication event.
  2. Barriers that are a normal part of communication but cannot be predicted.  They occur often but not in every communication.
  3. Barriers that are not normal, cannot be predicted and happen only rarely.  These are the hardest to prepare for because they happen so rarely.



Barriers that are normal and can be predicted

There are too many to mention here but let me go over a few so you know what I’m thinking.

Barriers that are a Normal Part of Communicatio

Barriers that are Normal but Cannot be Predicted

Barriers that are not normal, Cannot be predicted, and happens only rarely



Biological/Psychological Barriers

These barriers are very important and have to do with individuals ability to encode and decode communication effectively

Here I am talking about some normal, sub-normal, and super-normal communications capabilities.


There are many other points I could raise here.  But, for times sake I will move on.




There are many physical barriers to effective communication.

  • a loud motorbike roaring down the road while you’re trying to hold a conversation
  • your little brother standing in front of the TV set
  • mist on the inside of the car windscreen
  • smudges on a printed page
  • ‘snow’ on a TV set
  • Bright Lights/Dim Lights

Generally speaking, in this kind of everyday communication, we’re fairly good at avoiding physical noise: we shout when the motorbike goes past; you clout your little brother; cars have demisters.



This is the most difficult to describe, and I somewhat hesitate to actually go into it.  But from an Academic standpoint it’s a very descriptive concept.

Semantic barriers have to do specifically with language and codes.  Using the same language and the same codes enhances communication.  Semantic differences hinders effective communication



Your chances of achieving effective communication are enhanced to the extent both you and the people you’re communicating with agree on all the elements of the communication and work together to overcome the barriers to effective communication.




Communication Skills used to Overcome Barriers

Now that I’ve described the natural laws of communications and provided an overview of some of the key barriers to good communication, it’s time to focus on what is actionable for you at this point.  It’s time to start developing useful tools to become a great communicator.

Just as great athletes constantly work on their skills, so too do great communicators constantly work on their communication skills. The same way someone becomes skilled at tennis, football, bowling, or golf, they become skilled at communication.

Earlier I presented the “Actionable Communication Elements”

  • Intent
  • Encoding/Decoding
  • Channel
  • Feedback
  • Noise

I’ll use these actionable elements as the structure to present the skills you need to work on to become a great communicator.

It should come as no surprise that the first and most important skill you need to work on is your intent skills.

Every time you open your mouth you should ask yourself, “what am I trying to accomplish.”  Every time you make a decision you need to ask yourself, “what am I trying to accomplish.”  The more difficult the result you are trying to achieve the more important it is to have a clear and well thought out idea of what you are trying to accomplish.



Intent Skills

The first and most important skill required for effective communication is to clearly establish the intent of the communication.

We may want to get directions, or solve a problem, or sell something.  We may want to get someone to do something for us or for themselves.  Perhaps your goal to teach or is the goal to learn.[109]  Whatever it is, the clearer the goals the greater the likelihood of success.

I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating here;

The more for in harmony everyone is with the goals the greater the likelihood of success.


Here are my suggestion for Intent Skills

  • Think honestly about what you want to say before you say it.
  • Before you write an email, ask yourself what do I want to happen as a result of writing this email.
  • Prepare for Meetings by setting clear objectives.
  • Every meeting should have a written statement about meeting objectives.
  • If you are not sure of your intent, ask questions.
  • There is a difference between debate and asking questions.
  • Decide if you are providing directions or asking for directions.
  • Are you teaching or learning
  • Are you advocating or inquiring
  • Develop Better Inquiry Skills
  • Use the word “Interesting” when you disagree or want further information.  And try to mean it.
  • Don’t disagree with the person you are getting information from unless they say something you know is absolutely wrong and takes you down a path you know is wrong.
  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
  • Ask for elaboration
  • Be willing to change your Intent
  • If you cannot get what you want, think of something else that you may want.
  • Make an “Intent” map
  • What information am I using to get to this intent
  • What information might I be missing
  • If I looked at the information differently what it result in a different outcome.
  • Have I understood the information correctly.
  • Become Curious
  • Offer your reasoning behind your intent
  • Ask the others for their reasoning
  • Do your homework before you decide on your intent
  • Be Honest
  • Don’t spin
  • Confront the facts – Remember the Stockdale Paradox; “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.  And at the same time, confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be”



Encoding/decoding Skills

Encoding and decoding are critical to effective communication.  How you construct your messages and how you understand someone else’s message is primary for getting what you want.

Encoding Skills:

  • Speak clearly
  • Vary your rhythm, tempo, volume
  • Take public speaking classes
  • Do not dominate the conversation.  Allow others opportunities to speak.
  • I messages vs. you messages.
  • Don’t Argue
  • Know your Audience – Do not underestimate them.
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Grammar and Sentence Structure
  • Vocabulary
  • Understand the appropriate codes/cultures
  • I recently went to a class to learn about Japanese culture.  So I would be a better communicator

Non-Verbal Skills:

It’s important to note that communication skills go beyond the words we use (linguistic code).[110]  They also go to our physical behavior.  You might go into a restaurant and order a meal, but your non-verbal behavior greatly affects you ability to achieve your intent.  Things like etiquette, dress, gestures, and so on are part of the message.  You can go into a French restaurant and speak perfect French, but if you don’t understand the appropriate etiquette to apply, you may not get what you want.

Decoding Skills:

  • Listen
  • Multitasking – Checking your phone while someone is talking.
  • Spend as much or more time listening than talking.  Use a mental stopwatch to keep track.
  • Do not finish others sentences.  Wait for them to finish.
  • Ask questions.
  • Reading
  • Read everything.
  • Be aware of your biases
  • Understand Non-Verbal
  • Understand Difficult People.
    • The Know-It-Alls
      • They are arrogant and usually have an opinion on any issue. When they are wrong, they get defensive.
    • The Passives
      •  These people never offer ideas or let you know where they stand
    • The Dictators
      • They bully and intimidate. They’re constantly demanding and brutally critical.
    • The Complainers
      •  Is anything ever right with them? They prefer complaining to finding solutions.
    • The “Yes” People
      • They agree to any commitment, yet rarely deliver. You can’t trust them to follow through.
    • The “No” People
      • They are quick to point out why something won’t work. Worse, they are inflexible.


Both Encoding and Decoding Skills:

  • Thought
    • I remember reading once that Eskimos  have 7 words for snow, whereas Jamaicans have just one word.  This difference affects the way we see the world.  An Eskimo can look at snow and have easy ways to describe the difference between a wet snow and a draw snow.  A Jamaican might see snow and independent of the type of snow, just call it snow.  Your experience of the world is a function of the words we use.[111]
  • Reasoning
  • Understanding

The “No Arguing” Skill

In his blog, Peter Bregman, wrote that “Arguing is Pointless.”[112]  His point is excellent.

“When I think back to just about every argument I’ve ever participated in — political arguments, religious arguments, arguments with Eleanor or with my children or my parents or my employees, arguments about the news or about a business idea or about an article or a way of doing something — in the end, each person leaves the argument feeling, in many cases more strongly than before, that he or she was right to begin with. 

How likely is it that you will change your position in the middle of fighting for it? Or accept someone else’s perspective when they’re trying to hit you over the head with it?

Arguing achieves a predictable outcome: it solidifies each person’s stance. Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with the argument in the first place. It also wastes time and deteriorates relationships. “

One of the great communication skills to master is to not argue!  

The key here is to think about what your intent of the argument is.  If you are trying to change someone’s mind about something, you need to first understand what they think and why they think it.  And you need to believe that you can change their mind, which, if you think about the last time you changed your mind about something, you know how hard it is to change someone’s mind.

Instead of arguing, listening is the great skill to use.  And listening to better understand them, not listening just to prove them wrong.  Listening has a lot of positive results.  It is probably the best communication skill to master.

When you find yourself in an argument, step back, and follow these steps.

  • Ask yourself what is the Intent you are trying to achieve.
  • Ask the other person(s) what their intent is.
  • Figure out if it is simply a communication problem where you all want the same thing, but are just asking for it in different ways or is it a where people actually want different things.
  • Talk about finding a mutual goal.


Channel Skills

Learn to pick the right channel.  Know when email is better than a phone call and when face-to-face is appropriate.

E-mail is great for conveying information, but don’t use it for emotional issues; e-mail messages are too easy to misconstrue. If you’re squirming while reading an e-mail, leave your computer and deal with the situation in person or by telephone.

At the same time, phone calls and face-to-face meetings are inefficient ways to disseminate information, but great for discussing nuanced issues. You can respond directly to the listener’s reaction, and you can use your tone of voice and facial expressions to control your message. “I’m sure you did a great job” could be read sarcastically in an e-mail, but the same words can be delivered sincerely in person with the right tone of voice.

Furthermore, some people are listeners, while others are readers. Listeners won’t focus on written memos but are great in conversation. Readers write great memos and are also glad to read them, but conversation sometimes fails to fully engage them. If you talk to a reader or write to a listener, your message might not get through. Don’t be afraid to ask people how they prefer to receive information; most people know the answer. If they don’t, a little attention on your part will reveal what works best. (And for some people, it’s a combination of the two.)


Feedback Skills

There are two types of feedback skills, giving feedback and receiving feedback.  To develop both those skills require that you develop all the other communication skills I’ve talked about.

I hope I don’t seem like a broken record but the most important thing to remember in improving feedback skills is to understand the intent of the feedback.  Here is my favorite example – feedback as constructive criticism.

How many times have you been on the receiving end of constructive criticism where it felt more like just negative feedback.  Daniel Goleman noted, “threats to our esteem in the eyes of others are so potent they can literally feel like threats to our very survival.

Unfortunately however, we need feedback to survive.  Feedback is how we make the little adjustments in our life that we use to learn and grow.

Here are some important feedback skills to develop:

  • Understand that it is all about intent of the feedback.
  • Ask why are you giving the feedback
  • Ask why are you receiving the feedback.
  • Don’t give feedback when you are feeling bad or hurt.  The other person will sense it and become resistant, hurt, or even combative.
  • Understand that it is easy to miss-understand feedback.
  • Don’t assume you are right.  Think about your frame of reference and the reality that the person your proving feedback to has another frame.
  • Seek First to Understand[113]




Overcoming Noise Skills

Noise exists throughout the communication process.  Developing skills that specifically address the noise in communication is very helpful.

  • Use of multiple channels.
  • When you have to get in touch with someone, send them an email and give them a call
  • Use video/audio and text
  • Recognize that many people multitask
  • Try to make your message stand out
  • Focus in on the most important elements
  • Compensate for short attention spans


[1] I think many people during this period used letter writing a lot.  They couldn’t use email, or telephone, or skype, or get on a plane to make things happen.  They had to rely on letters.

[2] if you don’t you who Carlin is you missed someone truly special.  Some of his work even made it to the Supreme Court.   One of the funnies bits he does is on the difference between baseball and football.  You need to check it out if you’ve never heard it.

[3] I hate the concept of agreeing to disagree.  It’s a huge cop-out.

[4] Trimming the sails means how the sails on a sailboat are set.

[5]  Harris Interactive/Wall Street Journal business school survey September 2007.

[6] It is amazing how I think of everything is like communication.

[7] I know this is very hard for some people because I have a real hard time not interrupting.  But it is worth the effort if you can do it.

[8] This is actually extremely important and I’ll spend a lot of time this later.

[9] Encoding/decoding are the processes we use to put our thoughts into words and actions and to understand the words and actions of others.

[10] “The Mathematical Theory of Communication,” Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, 1949.

[11] Page 1.

[12] Encarta

[13] Look at Shannon

[14] When I watch cooking shows I often hear them use terms like “binding agent” or “reduce down.”  I’ve no clue what that means, but I suspect it has to do with some natural laws of cooking.

[15] Bernoulli’s principle has to do with “lift” over a curved surface.

[16] Even though I worked for 33+ years in the telecommunications industry, I have always liked the human aspects.  In fact my focus in college was an area of study called Psyco-linguists.  George Lakoff is someone I like in this area.

[17] Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is now mostly a digital process, but we are not looking at M2M so this is not actionable for us.

[18] Notice my focus on “Intent!”  I’m trying to clearly articulate the reasonI’m telling you this.

[19] “Orders of Magnitue” is a business term to mean a great deal.  It is usually based on exponents like the power of 10.

[20] This goes to the point about goals.  What is the goal of wearing a watch?  Is it to tell exact time?  Do you need a stop watch because you’re a runner?  It is just a fashion statement?  Are you a scuba diver and need a diving watch?  The goal will determine what information you need.

[21] Those of you that are too young to member cassette tapes might want to ask a parent or grandparent.

[22] On a completely separate note, this ability to make exact copies is why copyright infringement has become a huge problem today versus in the old analog days.

[23] Notice the term “get the picture” is an example of analog.  And what you understand is not exactly what I’m trying to say.

[24] This analogy to highways will be used again when I talk about packets of information.

[25] This statement got be thinking.  They say 1 picture is worth a thousand words.  A picture is analog.  Analog can carry more information than digital in a given bandwidth.  But digital will be more precise.  In this example quantity is the opposite of precision.

[26] American Standard Code for Information Interchange

[27] Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code Pronounced “eb-suh-dick.”

[28] There is a great book about punctuation is a code called, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by

[29] Another word for code is “jargon.”

[30] This is actually an oversimplification.  In reality all communication is mediated.  It’s mediated by our biology of encoding and decoding messages.  But that nuance is not actionable for what I’m trying to say at this point.   Also, mediated communication is when you put another person in between the sender and receive, for example when you use a translator.  There are many sources of

[31] Pavlik and McIntosh, 2004, pg. 70


[33] Dogs marking their territory by leaving their sent would be an example of meditated communication.

[34] I don’t know if this is true or not, but it sounds true so I included it.  Let me know if you

[35] It would be an interesting discussion to look at how a letter based writing as opposed to a graphic based writing is different.  Going back to my discussion of Analog, Hieroglyphics are analogs.

[36] Notice I did not say invention of electricity.  Electricity was not invented.  Electricity exists.  We just developed ways to harness electricity.

[37] 186,000 miles a second

[38] This is a gross simplification of wireless development.  But it sounds good, so I’ll go with it for now.  There were a lot of other people and innovations involved than just Marconi, but hopefully you get my point.

[39] I’m not ignoring the information capability of broadband networks here.  But for the sake of brevity I’ll leave that for another discussion.

[40] For those that might be too young to know about the Beach Boys they were a huge hit in the 60s and 70s.  One of the things that made them great was their harmonies.  And if you’re interested there are links between the Beach Boys and a “mass murderer” Charles Manson.

[41] While not necessarily waves, when someone shakes your hand you’re influenced by the pressure created by how strong or weak it is, when someone is lying next to you in bed you are influenced by his or her heat, and when someone doesn’t bathe or doesn’t have a pleasing perfume you are influenced by their smell.

[42] As a tangent as to why this is important is that I’ve come to believe that those that react better to stimuli succeed better.  Remember the 2 hunters and the bear story.  You don’t have to out run the bear, you just have to outrun your competition.

[43] Recognize that sometimes the processor is not in the brain but in other parts of the body.  But, it is not critical to my intent here so I’ll not go into it.

[44] The unconscious part is the perception of the pain and the reflex movement away from the pain.  The conscious part is seeing the pin, understanding how sharp it is, the intention of the person wielding the pin and based on all of that deciding to move away faster or hold your ground.

[45] Internal to a computer the network is often referred to as the “Bus.”

[46] What loss there is within the wire itself or through a connection can be measured and is consistent.

[47] There are other types of memory and processers that while functioning differently get at the same point.

[48] There are things that can affect a transistors functioning, temperature for example.  But those are known and predictable.

[49] There are actually 2 kinds of synapses, electrical and chemical.  An electrical synapse is a physical link between two neurons.  A chemical synapse uses chemicals, called neurotransmitters to connect one nerve cell to the other.  Electrical synapses conduct nerve impulses faster, but do not have “gain” like a chemical synapse.  Electrical synapses are usually found in systems that require faster responses, like defensive reflexes.  Chemical synapses are much more common and are the foundation of communication, perception, and thought.  .




[52] Not to be redundant but it’s important, notice that the cells do not touch

[53] When you exercise your body produces endorphins, probably to lessen the pain of pushing you body.  There is a great book called “Born to Run,” which describes how humans succeeded because we could run farther than the animals we were chasing.  Endorphins are probably the evolutionary event that allowed us to push our bodies in this way.  By the way, I personally experience endorphins when I run.  When I run I cannot think a bad thought probably because the endorphins.  It is what runners call the endorphin “high.”



[55] Remember the salad bar analogy I used in the preface.  Remember how I said that we never make the same salad twice.  Well this is the biological reason for that phenomenon.

[56] As a comparison, One dog, considered very smart, was reportedly able to recognize 200 words.

[57] Steven Pinker professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, and director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Center at MIT

[58] Discover September 2007, page 48 “The Discover Interview with Steven Pinker.

[59] Discover September 2007, page 48 “The Discover Interview with Steven Pinker.

[60] I talked about him in Chapter 1 when I talked about how our bodies resist change.  He’s the one that suggested our brains actually use the neurotransmitters to resist change.  I’m going to talk about him and his research again a bit later when I talk about how the brain filters out information it doesn’t like.


[62] I know “better” here is a relative term.  I just think most people would agree that harmonic music is better on average than non-harmonic music.

[63] I have a theory that the reason we are innovative and computers are not is because of this bio-chemical bath our brain works in.  Computers will add 2 + 2 the same every time it’s asked because the circuits are hard wired.  People on the other hand, can get tired, excited, enraged, which influences the mix of neurotransmitters in the brain, which then influences the way we figure things out.

[64] By the way this is true for different animal species as well.

[65] Plasticity refers to the ability of the neurons to change.  This is important as it relates to “learning.”

[66] These lesions were the result of either injury, or illness, or even surgical experimentation.

[67] Of course we can go back to our discussion of “nature vs. nurture” as too the question of how these structural differences are formed.  But that is for another time.

[68] I don’t know that this is true

[69] Brian Rules Web Site

[70] This again goes back to the salad bar analogy.  You need to know as much about yourself as possible so you can pick the right skills for you at that moment from the salad bar of skill choices.

[71] There is a whole area of management studies based on Myers-Briggs personally survey.  A good book on this subject is “Type Talk at Work.”

[72] I use the term Vibrate here loosely.  It is not vibration like a tuning fork.  It is like electictal impulses like a radio speaker.

[73] “Was there a moment midstride when horses had all hooves off the ground? Leland Stanford, the railroad baron and future university founder, bet there was—or at least that’s the story. It was 1872 when Stanford hired noted landscape photographer Eadweard Muybridge to figure it out. It took years, but Muybridge delivered: He rigged a racetrack with a dozen strings that triggered 12 cameras. Muybridge not only proved Stanford right but also set off the revolution in motion photography that would become movies.”

[74] Influence of the thalamus on spatial visual processing in frontal cortex, Marc A. Sommer & Robert H. Wurtz


[75] 20/20 means that you can see clearly at 20 feet what most people see at 20 feet.  If you have 20/100 vision, you see at 20 feet what most people see at 100 feet.  So that would be sub-normal.  However, one could also have 20/10 vision, meaning you see at 20 feet what most people see at 10 feet.  That would be super-normal vision.


[76] Metaphore and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf, 1991, George Lakoff

[77] Herbert Simon

[78] Berkeley Linguistics Professor

[79] Emory Professor


[81] Page 9 Social Intelligence


[83] Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence Books.

[84] Page 4, Social Intelligence

[85] There is a tremendous amount of observable, anecdotal, and experimental evidence supporting this conclusion Perhaps a list of such research would be helpful here

[86] Pinker, 1997

[87] Caroline Bartel at New York University and Richard Saavedra at the University of Michigan studied 70 work groups

[88] Goldman Page 4

[89] This is based on a discussion of our limbic system’s open-loop design.

[90] Bartel, C., & Saavedra, R. (2000). The collective construction of work group moods. Administrative Science Quarterly,45, 197-231.

[92] There is actually is a whole are of research to support this.

[93] Shannon, C. E. A Mathematical Theory of Communication The Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 27, pp. 379-423, 623-656, July, October, 1948.


[94] See Appendix X for a discussion of Berlo.

[95] Berlo, Shannon-Weaver

[96] I’m starting to see a trend that many of my examples revolve around food.  I wonder what that means?

[97] In fact, if you think about it, I really didn’t even need to talk to a person at all.  I could have done the whole communication talking to a computer.


[98] I’m very interested in compiling a list of examples of those communication events that do not require an “intent.”  I can’t think of any.  Perhaps you can send me some examples.

[99] Robert McCloskey an American author and illustrator of children’s books.

[100] Berlo 1960

[101] Probably because the student wants a good grade and they think that if they disagree with the teacher they would not get you a good grade.  Or because they have been trained to respect authority and not disagree with teachers.

[102] The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, 1967, New York:Bantam.  This was required reading in the 60s.

[103] Mehrabian and Ferris (1967)

[104] You remember the game Marco Polo in a pool don’t you?

[105] This is a good example of filling in the gaps.  I heard something, it sounded reasonable, so I remembered it and use it.  It may not be true.  The study could have been wrong.  There may be other evidence to suggest that it is not true.  Yet I take it as true.

[106] Wiener 1958: 55


[108] I use the term Semantic to encompass the entire field of Semiotics.  This is best said by Singh, “Syntax deals with the structure of symbols, semantics with their meanings, and pragmatics with their contexts of usage. These terms were picked up by the early logicians and computer scientists and, especially the first two, are frequently the objects of attention in computer science.” Munindar P. Singh

[109] This is why I had a whole chapter on Setting Goals and it goes back to the Chapter on Learning

[110] Semantic, syntactic ???

[111] see the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the section on semiotics


[113] Steven Covey