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How should two different groups communicate with each other?

When (say) a computer scientist needs to talk to a biologist, what modes of communication should they use to deliver their ideas and come to a common understanding? So far we have identified Metaphors, analogies,stories , drawings , models, artifacts? what other ways could one communicate ideas ?

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    Nov 8 2011: with respect
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    Nov 4 2011: .
    The most efficient manner in which understanding can be established.

    People have often indicated that i am a rather effective pundit in such situations. For example, as an engineer, I was conducting training to sales staff and customers. My approach is always dictated by the group and always aim to find the most efficient matter in which i can establish an understanding with my audience. I default to straying from the standard fare lecture by making it interactive, and i have found good response when used in conjunction with the typical visual aids and/or props as well. From my life experience, situation dictates. When i developed an ability to improvise, adapt and overcome situational-setbacks, my tree of success took root. I would also say that, from my experience, it has proven useful to find a common ground with people. I do this quite easily and use it to forge a relationship w/the group (i think that a little rapport can go a long way in establishing understanding, and, perhaps, more importantly-- instilling such the desire from the audience at hand).
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    Nov 10 2011: Wow, what a range of communication concepts, from mass killing and destruction to actually listening with respect in order to establish constructive interaction.

    I'm not big on the killing idea, but yet I do squish ants, cockroaches and spiders when they enter my visual field. And I tend to easily let go of people who indicate no interest in what I wish to share.

    I'm a big proponent of listening and interacting with respect, especially between people who are interested in what others in the group have to share. A sense of play tends to facilitate communication, as long as it lets the players enjoy and focus on the subject(s) at hand. Play involves many senses, which contributes to "learning by doing", which is the most complete way of learning I have found in this plane of existence.

    Now as to ways of sharing information, you already seem to have identified the main ones. I'm a photographer and writer, so I tend to think and communicate mostly in pictures and words carefully arranged. Pictures have the advantage - amongst sighted people - of being fairly understandable across languages, cultures, etc. Communicating with words requires that participants have put in lots of time learning language; lots of time! Some words have so many multiple meanings, etc. But many ideas don't have visual components, so for those we MUST use language.

    In the setting you envision, having at least one facilitator, such as Emm, is a huge plus. And Emm has spent much time & attention developing and honing the necessary skills ... that tells me that facilitation can be trained, which I expect is something you're hoping to hear.

    Best of luck with your project!
    • Nov 10 2011: John
      I love photography too. A picture is not worth a thousand words, it is a thousand words. Thanks for your insights.
  • Nov 8 2011: Hello Shalini. Many thanks for your reply I will try to give you a brief explanation of how all this work.
    1: when you have a disagreement it is the feedback of your beliefs and values. This means, what you are telling to other person is not in his/her belief system. Or s/he can’t understand what you are saying. (this brings me to my next answer)
    2: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic (VAK)
    Visual people make images/pictures in their mind of what is being said and they use words such as: see, look, watch, picture, colour, view, etc (for visual effect)
    Auditory people make it sounds right in their mind of what is being said and they use words such as: hear, talk, discuss, sound, noise, tell, ring call, etc (for auditory effect)
    Kinaesthetic people want to feel it in order to understand what is being said, they use words such as:hot, cold, feel, touch, hard, heavy, soft, comfortable, etc (for kinaesthetic effect)

    Please note that eye-movement, body-postures, hand- gestures give you signals about how their mind receives, decodes and codes the information that is being communicated.

    Once you know how their mind does all that, you can change your language pattern and non-verbal signs to match theirs and then they will understand you very well (not to mention that they will love you, becuase you speak their OWN language) Famous words: “if you talk to a man in a language that he understands it will talk you to his head, but if you talk to a man in his own language it will take you to his heart”

    I surely can’t teach you neuro-linguistic with 2000 characters, but I advise you to check your email and reread some of them and you will notice how people use their mind to code and provide information. So you will know who is Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic. Listening to radio, watching TV, listening to people in bars/at work/in the street or even family members will help you to know how all this work. try to match their behavour and language pattern, see what happens.

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    Nov 8 2011: Atom bombs. The message they send is hard to ignore. The message is always succint, blunt, frank and honest, and to the point.
  • Nov 8 2011: I think besides listening carefully which a lot of people have mentioned. It is always crucial when speaking from different perspectives to translate correctly. That is sometimes a hard job. Being a good translator of meaning to one another is the key. It is important on the level of cultures, groups and individuals.
    • Nov 8 2011: So how do we understand each others cultures and perspectives?
      • Nov 8 2011: You learn to look at your own culture and its patterns.
        You try intensely to examine the other culture and its patterns
        Learning the other's language if possible is crucial
        You speak with people from the other culture and share stories
        You attempt to understand the stories and patterns of the other culture
        You keep listening
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    Nov 8 2011: To start with, one has to listen carefully to the audience. Then comes 'Generalization' of 'your' subject. Listening is important here as it helps double check how well one can generalize concepts. Once common grounds are found, you can build the castle how you see it and others will see it too. I think generalizing and de-generalizing in cyclic way is how concepts are shared and ideas propagate until the other person 'owns' your ideas as his or her and would transmit it same way.
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    Nov 8 2011: It depends what they have in common, where their differences are, and what they are talking about.

    A computer scientist and a biologist who lived together in a college dorm may not need any extraordinary communication strategies unless they are talking about the technical aspects of their fields.

    The ideas in some fields are not hard to communicate in words if one stays away from jargon. In other fields a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Nov 7 2011: Emm,
    That was very good. We are trying to find if we can create systems for people to do exactly what you are doing in a corporate setting. Do you think it takes a special kind of person to have that or is it trainable?
  • Nov 7 2011: TRUTH! Also, I agree with Edwin N, that LISTENING (with an open mind and heart) is important. Be clear about the will, the intent of the participants in the communication. If they are seekfinding TRUTH, communication is likely to be clear. It is appropriate to use one's intuition to "read between the lines."
  • Nov 4 2011: to Answer to this question is not easy, One can ask: What EXACTLY they need to talk about?

    Maybe using ART OF LSITENING will be a better idea.

    55 / 38 / 7 (at first sight those numbers may not say anything to you if you are not into communication business)

    55 % non-verbal
    38 % vocal
    7 % verbal

    it is only 7 % of our communication is verbal (words). that is why it is very important to understand the other party and then try to be understood. this is the key to any communication.
    First of all we would better build rapport (no rapport no communication) (mirroring their body posture) and then listen very carefully and understand their language patters and how the express their experience, when we understood this we can change our language patterns to theirs. This will help both parties to understand each other better, no matter to which sector they belong.

    According to neuro linguistics people use their senses (neuro systems) to decode and code their messages. and it is possible that we all have different leading system in our brain. (such as Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic). (there are a lot of details in this subject)

    some people think that communicating their ideas is all about talking, but I would say that it is about listening.
    Listen to know HOW the other parson wants to know and how you can communicate your idea in their preffered way.
    • Nov 7 2011: That is so true, but when we have people who disagree with each other - not on basics - but how it is communicated , trouble begins. when I am conversing with you , I am not aware whether you are an auditory or visual learner.

      How do we make people aware of that . yes I agree we need an open heart , mind and speak the truth but it's easier said than done.
      thanks for the great insights
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    Nov 4 2011: Carefully, kindly, with an open heart and an awareness of what might be trouble spots.
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    Nov 4 2011: they should find a comon base which is easy to both, maybe food, maybe sport, maybe whatever ...