Linear & Interactive Communication

I work for a great organization.  Sometimes they get a bad rap but, overall, they are pretty good at what they do.  They also value continuing education and leadership training.  I am a part of one of their leadership training classes that lasts approximately 9 months.  You can look at it from two perspectives:

(1) Wow!  Amy must be pretty awesome to get picked for such an illustrious leadership class that lasts 9 months.

(2) Wow!  Amy must be pretty awful to be assigned to a leadership class that lasts 9 months.  She is probably resistant to change.

The format of the class allows a slow saturation of information as well as ample opportunity to practice some of our skills between sessions.  During our last class, we learned about linear and interactive communication techniques and the validity of use based on the target outcome of the communication.  More simply put, when should I use linear communication and when should I use interactive communication?

Linear communication is like reading a newspaper or talking to a cat.  Information is pushed one way with no request or expectation for feedback.  This is perfect when you want to disseminate information to a large audience.  Ms. Clawson, my cat, may listen to my diatribe about shredding the toilet paper but I do not expect her to respond.  She is clearly above having to answer for another shredded toilet paper roll.

Ms. Clawson is not responsible for shredded toilet paper.

Ms. Clawson is not responsible for shredded toilet paper.

Interactive communication is what we do whenever we chat with friends or with our dog.  You send information, they respond, and the cycle keeps going until you part ways.  Interactive is crucial for innovation, problem solving, and building relationships.  Dogs are very good with interactive communication.  They bark and then do a little “potty dance” at the door to let you know they really need to go.  You respond by putting on your shoes and taking them out for a walk.  They wag their tail because they have finally trained their human to respond correctly.

All this talk about communication styles shows me I am not truly leveraging my blog as well as I could.  This blog was never intended to be a linear communication channel.  I always wanted it to be interactive.  While I am a self-proclaimed ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, I crave the connections that only Dog-People can bring to the table.  So, let’s shift our expectations and make it more interactive.

What questions, comments, or discussions would you like to see?  What research can we do?  Do you feel like your potential is being held back?  If so, what do you think is your stumbling block

?  Have you recently had a significant break through?  What did you do that facilitated the change?

Let’s build a community of like-minded people trying to reach our potential.

P.S.  I promise to check my comments more than once a week.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: