By Kenneth Rudich In business as in life, communications among people can be imperfect due to interference from noise.
Experts in the field of communications tend to use the term noise in the broader sense of the word – anything that might inhibit or sabotage the intended outcome of the communication.
In this sense, noise can appear in different forms.
It might be physical noise, such as loud music or a jackhammer in the background while talking with someone; it could be semantic, such as a conflict between the sender and the receiver in misunderstanding the meaning of words; or it can be internal noise, where one participant may not be able to understand the inside of the mind of the other participant.
Whenever it occurs, which is nearly all the time in one degree or another, noise operates as an impediment.
Instead of achieving a shared perception between the sender and the receiver, as is the commonly agreed upon purpose of most communications, the message becomes prone to getting garbled, misconstrued or completely lost.
Noise in any form of communications, including business and marketing communications, can be a prelude to disaster.
But it doesn’t have to follow that it neccessarily will. Insofar as effective communications is more about perception than reality, it can in some cases still be achieved despite the intrusion of noise.
For instance, has anyone ever told you something which didn’t make sense in terms of how they actually said it, but you still understood what they were trying to convey?
On the other hand, that kind of outcome is probably more the exception than the rule.
Continuous noise in communications is more apt to undermine the process and stir unwanted consequences.
Because of that, every attempt must be made to minimize it as much as possible.