Four Types of Information We Communicate

I met a person from the Chicago Tribune this morning and discussed the changing market and presentation of news based on the Internet and people’s desire to go green. The conversation quickly shifted to something a bit more interesting for me – People’s expectations that everyone who works in media should know how to communicate.

Communication has four basic types of information that every person and couple might want to learn – Its just not for the media specialist. Before we can communicate the four areas of information, we need to understand its existence.

OPEN information is the first category that everyone participates in. This is the information that we know and others know. It is the given based on our history, personality types and common interests. Everyone belonging to a photography club understands what a lens is and can opening discuss it with any new member.

BLIND information is that which others see in us, but we don’t. It isn’t based on our denial, but rather on the perceptions of others. I recently gave a talk and was approached afterwards and thanked for the great information I shared and the entertaining way I presented it. I was blind to this perspective and had no clue that I came across in such a positive manner.

HIDDEN information are the types of things we withhold from other’s. It can be made up of things we are protecting the other person from or it can be kept to protect our own hearts. Telling a widow after the funeral that her husband was cheating on her does nothing, but tear down wonderful memories and feeds bitterness – Something not worth revealing.

UKNOWN information is that which exists that we, nor anyone else in our circle is familiar with. It still exists and might impact our relationships without our understanding. It can be both negative or positive, but can’t be changed until we know it exists. Although, some information can never be changed regardless of our new gained knowledge.

What few people realize is how we communicate these types of information. Some of us are oblivious to how our body language might reveal hidden information that the other person can see, but might not clearly understand at first. I met a woman two weeks ago who shared about her husband’s affair. Her gut told her something was going on, because she was reading his hidden information through his body language.

Another person shared with me how great a particular pastor was in delivering his message. He liked the pastor’s style because he didn’t realize how good he was. His innocence protected him from arrogance and was therefore far more effective in his talks than he knew.

Being conscious of how we share the information through body language and word choice makes all the difference in how the information is received. Those who know how to read body language are also well aware that what is not said can be just as powerful of a message. By being purposeful in what we share and how we share it, we are more likely to be clear and understood. It is our choice and it’s important to gain feedback to understand how we came across.

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