Decoding messages

We’ve already talked about frame of reference, as well as encoding; today we will focus on decoding, or how we make sense of these messages we are constantly receiving. You can read the description of this on pages 7 and 8 of your textbook.

Decoding is all about perception, which is discussed at length in chapter 2. When we talk about decoding, we really are talking about how we understand the world that surrounds us. It’s not just making sense, but choosing where we place our focus, and consider the ways the message can be interpreted.

I usually think of the friends who make sarcastic comments first. If we look solely at their words, we may interpret their messages in one way. By contrast, if we listen to their tone, notice their eyes rolling, and watch their exasperated gestures, we may completely alter our understanding.

Again, this is all rooted in our frame of reference. The more experiences we have (with one person, as well as with a variety of people), the better chance we have to be able to see a myriad of ways to interpret the same message. That means we have better tools to understand others, and will often be more effective communicators.

In the past 3 posts, I have talked about the most commonly confused aspects of the communication process. While this is not a substitute for reading the textbook, I hope it helps make a little more sense of those concepts. I’ll be sharing additional posts soon on more topics relating to the first few chapters. Check back regularly!


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