One of the most helpful things I have learned in the past twelve months is a new definition for the word communication. Grace Bolton taught us back at our staff retreat that it is “shared meaning.”
By shared meaning, I understand that the sender and receiver work through all biases to come to common ground. These biases can be gender, generational, or culturally founded. It takes patient, creative thought to make sure you are arriving at shared meaning with your relationships. Talking and listening are just the integration of sounds if there is not shared meaning between the speaker and the listener.
This definition is helping me with Beth, my boys and my coworkers to better discuss life moments. (Think conflict resolution and problem solving) Shared meaning is also helping me become a better communicator of God’s word. I am working to better understand my audience’s backgrounds, needs, and dreams as I prepare to share a talk.
Do we have shared meaning on shared meaning? How can this definition help you?