Lana Vaughan

The Queen of Questions

Four Part Communication

“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”

― Alan Greenspan


communicationEvery successful communication has four parts. With out all four communication breaks down.

1. I have to be able to clearly express my thought, idea or feeling.

2. I have to offer that expression to you either in word or deed.

3. You have to receive that expression.

4. You have to interpret that expression back into a thought, idea or feeling that matches what I started with in step one.


This process gets more complex and more critical depending on the situation and the potential impact of the original thought, idea or feeling. An emergency room doctor asking a car accident what they are feeling is a critical time for clear communication.

But a simple question like “how was your day?” can open the door to life saving communication, too.

At any step communication can be shut down easier than progressed. If I am not able or willing to express myself, you have no opportunity to interpret anything. If I don’t offer my expression it doesn’t do any good to be able to express it. If you aren’t in a place to receive it or don’t recognize the offer when I make it, it falls flat and can decrease the possibility of my offering again. If you do receive it there is the possibility that you may not know what to make of it. Depending on where you are in your own life, my expression may be beneficial or it may be unwelcome or it may just be something passing through without much impact at all.

The rarest of all moments is when the four step are successfully taken because then the dance begins again as you are at step one and your thoughts, ideas and feelings are taking shape.

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