How Communication Works

     Communication with two people, maintains four circular feedback loops.  All feedback loops are intersubjective. If communication freely flows between two people, their ideas, concepts, and words will change and co-construction will occur. 

     There is one circular feedback loop that take place inside the person’s mind. The person will have a concept in his mind. The person will formulate words to describe the concept. As the person formulates the words, the formulation of the words will change the meaning and structure of the original concept. 

     There is another circular feedback loop that takes place between the two people. The transmitter communicates via verbal and nonverbal language. The receiver interprets the communication. If communication is to occur properly, the receiver then explains to the transmitter what he just heard the transmitter say. This creates the feedback loop. The transmitter can then hear back how her message was interpreted. The transmitter can then change her mind about the message and make a correction and/or decide which parts of the message was not communicated effectively and make a correction. 

     The internal and external feedback loop will work together. Once the transmitter hears the feedback from the receiver, the concept in the transmitter’s mind that is being communicating will change to adjust to the interpretation of the receiver. The transmitter will then formulate new communication to express the changed concept. As the new communication is being formed, the usage and meaning of the transmitter’s words/ body language will change the concept that the transmitter is describing. 

     During the course of conversation, if the receiver is only providing feedback the transmitter will almost invariably  make changes to her mind, or rather  the concept that is being communicated will morph. Once the transmitter feels understood and necessary changes have taken place inside the transmitter’s mind, then the receiver can become the transmitter of his concepts. If the transmitter has first completed several feedback loops, and feels completely satisfied with that the communication has been understood, he/she is more likely to listen and help the other person feel understood. 

When Communication Doesn’t Work

     When communication isn’t working, at least one of the feedback loops are not occurring. If the receiver is not providing feedback, the transmitter will not know if her communication is being understood. This will often result in frustration. This will often result in the transmitter repeating herself, becoming louder, or going into extended explanations or lectures in an attempt to feel understood. 

     Commonly two people will attempt to be the transmitter of communication at the same time. This results in both parties not knowing if they are being understood. The lack of feedback does not allow time for a person to think about and change her own words to accommodate the other person. The lack of external feedback does not allow for internal feedback to occur, which is necessary for someone to “change their mind” or morph their own constructs. 

     Feedback occurs when the receiver tells the transmitter what he heard her say. The transmitter makes an adjustment and transmits again. The receiver tells the transmitter what he heard her say again. The transmitter makes another adjustment and transmits again. The receiver tells the transmitter what he heard her say again. The transmitter eventually is certain that she has communicated and has been understood. This often results in feeling validated.  A common feeling of invalidation occurs when the receiver to listens to the transmitter, then instead of providing feedback, he immediately responds by pointing out flaws in the transmitter’s logic. This results in the transmitter not knowing if her communication has been understood. This often results in both people feeling invalidated.