Communication Is All About Structure
... is critical for clear and persuasive communication. If you have ever watched a house being built, you already know the power of a framework. Building the foundation seems to take the longest, but nothing could be more vital. A crack in a foundation means a crack in the structure. The next phase in building a house is just as vital, and it also seems to take a long time: Framing. Putting the frame up
concerning walls and roof sets the context for the stuff that moves so quickly. It is slow with the foundation and slow with the framing, but then a house appears!
Communication is no different in principle. The foundation and framing of your thoughts takes a takes a little work, but once it is done…wham! You are on a fresh path to understanding the power of working with the dynamics of Thinking & Talking in the world of effective communication. If you frame things right in your mind, they’ll come out right for others.
In the THOUGHT-Talk System® you will be learning how your brain works and how it all relates to communication. You are about to learn a fresh approach that will improve your thinking and you communication…which means you will be better equipped than ever to handle the confusing barrage of information the world is scattering around at the speed of light. Clear thinking and speaking is fast on its way to becoming the most important skill for career advancement and personal success.
Be patient and be focused: You’re life is about to improve, we promise.
Structure Demands Behavior
Think about problems and solutions in communication. All employment, and most of life, is about problems and solutions. We have jobs because we solve a problem of some type for someone. Communication is certainly about problems and solutions as well. Additionally, communication follows the same structural pattern as most everything else we seek to accomplish in this world.The problem we face generally involves one or all of being rudderless, blind, or unfocused. When we are rudderless, it means that we have an unclear destination in view. In sailing, if you have a rudder directing you to an unknown place or you have no rudder at all ---what's the difference? When we are blind, it means the facts of how things really are are unclear or unknown. In a sense, it is about the same challenge a jet aircraft can have if its instrument panel goes out---not much of a chance of continuing in the right direction. Finally, when we are unfocused we are inconsistent and uncoordinated, so our actions look reactive, like we are fighting brush fires.
In communication, being rudderless, blind, and unfocused is a recipe for disaster.
The solution to this dangerous trinity is to concentrate on the future, the present, and the transition. For simplicity, we refer to these as THERE, HERE, and PATH.
- Looking at THERE in the future means that we are thinking about a future destination.
- Looking at HERE in the present means that we are thinking about a current position.
- Looking at PATH as a transition from HERE to THERE means we are thinking about a plan or strategy to follow.
In communication, thinking about what you want to communicate or cause the listener to understand (THERE), must include what they already know or need to know (HERE), which then provides a way to think about a PATH to help them move along to your communication's final destination.The THERE-HERE-PATH solution is part of a simple, larger 3 step process:
- THERE - Decide on a clear end result or target for your communication
- HERE - Look at the current reality considering what you know, what the audience knows, and what may be missing from both.
- PATH - Identify actions and approaches (recipes) that help you communicate well.
- Move quickly to acting on the first step in your recipe. Even getting the oven started heating gets you in motion!
- Improve as you go by intentionally following a recurring pattern of ALA (Acting, Learning, and Adjusting). After each action you complete, pay attention to what you learned and what the next best step should be (often the next step includes an adjustment to the original plan).
- Persevere, refuse to stop, and make “quitting quitting” a part of your creed
- Remember, you are using a process to Create Communication Solutions.
"The creative process has had more impact, power, influence, and success than any other process in history. All of the arts, many of the sciences, architecture, pop culture and the entire technological age we live in, exists because of the creative process." - Robert Fritz, Creating
Any discussion about structure needs to include “Tension seeks resolution”. “In thinking about structures it is important to recognize one of the greatest structures in the universe: Tension Seeks Resolution” (Robert Fritz). While we often refer to it as Tension Seek Relief, the idea is that there is a stretch between items that “want” to come together.
- Questions Seek Answers
- Hunger Seeks Food
- Loneliness Seeks Companionship
- Water Seeks the Lowest Place
- Headache Seeks Quiet
- Knock Knock Seeks Who’s There
Structure is the essence of the THOUGHT-Talk System. A structure is simply the relationship created between connected elements. Structures all around us and they dictate what happens. Each structure in fact has its own unique characteristics. Water is made of a molecule which is an exact structure involving hydrogen and oxygen. We understand it as H2O.
Even jokes are structured a certain way --- “Knock Knock,” it starts. “Who’s there?” it continues. “Police…”…”Police who?” Police let’s quit telling Knock Knocks.
Whether it is the structure of the brain, the structure of a building, or the structure of a presentation; each one will dictate a certain behavior, response, or reaction. You can’t fool Mother Structure. You can WANT to stand up straight, but if you are in a room with a four foot ceiling, you will not stand up straight.
If you structure your words to be ineffective or confusing, then your communication will be ineffective or confusing. If your thoughts are muddled, your words will be muddled too. If you structure a clear presentation, you will be clear. If you structure persuasion, you will be persuasive.
There may be no guarantees in this life, but if you structure your thoughts and your words well, then the odds are in your favor. However, that small advantage is usually all you need to be ahead of the crowd.