Does communication and understanding get stuck sometimes?

Does communication and understanding get stuck sometimes?

Have you ever found yourself communicating with someone and getting more and more frustrated with the feeling that you are not getting through to each other? Like you don’t talk on the same level? Like you talking about fruit and the other about the core of the pear? You are more general and the other is more detailed in the conversation. Or vice versa at another time. Not uncommon, but how can you influence communication so that you end up on the same logical plane*? Follow the post and let’s see if you have some more wisdom at the end.

Logical planes

Logical planes can be seen as a system where everything is connected through different levels that we can move between. From the very general down to the detailed level. Both in communication with others and in our thoughts (internal communication).

Ex. We talk about food (level 1), then fruit (level 2), then pear (level 3), then variety/brand of the pear (level 4), and then the core, stem, peel of the pear (level 5). A little further down in the post I will translate this into a business and how you can think with this approach to find better structure.

Summary or detailed level?

So when is it relevant to be at a more detailed level in the conversation and when a summary is enough.

It depends on the purpose of the call, meeting or draw. You need to start with the purpose of what you want to communicate. Who should receive your information and how do you want it to be received?

If you are having an introductory meeting about a new change, an overly detailed briefing is likely to cause confusion, while at the same time it should not be too simplistic and overarching, as those who will be delivered the news by you will not have a clue, while you may have known for some time. So what is the purpose of what is to be said.

It can also be a situation where the listeners have demanded information. Again, it is important to stop and look at your own presentation, will you convey what they want. And in the meeting, make sure that discussions, interactions and conversations are conducted on the same logical level in order to make full sense.

Is your brain working at full speed?

How is it in your mind? Are you scratching your hair with your to-do lists? Stressed by all the points and don’t know where to start? Maybe you should put the lists away and start thinking about what is a priority. What do you need to do right now to complete your tasks or projects at home? Start from what the purpose of the day is and what you need/want to finish at the end of the day. Start at the end and work backwards. Once you know that, you can start picking out the items on the list that are necessary for you to do right now. If you want to structure it even more, you can make a schedule of your tasks and place them in intervals of your choice such as “Priority”, “Next in line”, “When there is time”. This also makes it more transparent and allows you to delete and move tasks between these clusters.

Meetings – meetings – meetings

In previous posts, I have a. wrote about the importance of knowing what the intention of the meeting is and setting a clear framework for each meeting. Another part is logical planes, what are you dealing with in the meeting, does it belong to that meeting framework and are you talking on the same logical plane? Take management team meetings, found in many different industries and companies. If you yourself have been or are a member of a management team, do you find that at these meetings you raise and discuss points that really belong in another meeting?

This brings us back to the issue of purpose again. Purpose of the meeting combined with logical plan. What will the meeting cover and is everyone familiar with the logical discussion plan for each item? Otherwise, it can be easy for a point to be discussed in general terms to slip away and into much more detail than intended, taking time away from other points.

Logical planes in change processes

When it comes to change/development processes, some companies also face the challenge of losing the structure of how to achieve the goal. How does that happen? One explanation could be that the whole process is like cake batter in a bowl. In there you have thrown down the goal/intention of the change, then some values about what is important in the company, you also take some activities to be done and thus add some confusion to the mix at the end. It’s a bit like having a to-do list with no breakdown. Where to start? So take the time to get the logical plan in place, with the most important items at the top and then the rest of the items in a logical order underneath.

It is also important to consider when the process needs to be explored in detail (frog perspective) and when it is time to zoom out (helicopter perspective). Make sure that everyone is involved in those movements, so that you understand each other in communication. Express purposes (intentions)!

So make sure to structure the different parts so that they have their logical planes, and you will have a much clearer picture of how to work in the process. As well as how the communication will be carried out and moved. And as I wrote at the beginning of the post, focus on making sure that what you’re communicating has a relevant value, that the listeners can actually absorb the whole of what you want to say. Instead of just feeding them information that flows off them like water on a goose.

Some thoughts…

I say, what if this thinking was in schools, universities, colleges, etc? I would have liked to avoid reading 400 pages of microeconomics in English with only terms, and instead get some kind of indication of what was important to read about. Because I guess few people remember 400 pages from cover to cover. Instead, it’s sausage stuffing and much of it disappears after the exam. Or like in school where many teachers think that their subject is the most important and that you should read all the books. Not surprisingly, students do not do well with all the details and challenges of trying to sift for themselves, combined with an increasingly digitalized society.

I say put more emphasis on the logical plans, it creates great value!


– Next time you get stuck in a communication at work or at home. Try to zoom out a bit and see if you are talking on the same logical level.



*Logical planes are a concept from the field of communication studies.

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