Thursday, June 28, 2007

SHOR Paradigm


[Effective Communication – an apocryphal anecdote I heard somewhere]



Imagine that a husband and wife are driving one evening for a party, their car crawling at snail’s pace in the heavy traffic on the busy crowded roads of a city with terrible traffic like Pune. The car is waiting at a red traffic signal.

Suddenly the traffic signal turns green and the wife says to her husband, “The signal has become green!”

Now, in his mind’s eye, the husband can interpret this simple communication from his wife in a number of ways depending on his mental filters and reply to his wife accordingly.

One husband may think his wife means to say, “Can’t you see? The traffic light has turned green!” and he may retort angrily, “Of course I can see! I’m not blind!”

Another may think his wife is hurrying him up, “Come on, you slow-poke, hurry up; we are already late,” to which he may snap, “Don’t unnecessarily hustle me, let me drive properly.”

Or a “hen-pecked” husband may assume that his wife has started off her nagging again and say irritably, “Stop your nagging and backseat driving – why don’t you drive yourself instead of passing comments?”

Now, in each of these cases, on hearing her husband’s remarks, the wife may either choose to remain silent or she may “appropriately” respond to the husband’s comments and give him a “fitting” reply, and the conversation will go on and on till more “heat” and less “light” is generated.

What if a husband just ignores the wife’s remarks, remains silent, says nothing? Well, the wife may interpret his silence in a number of ways depending on her mental filters, and accordingly say something to her husband again and the “communication” cycle will continue.

Interpretation of communication, drawing inferences – it all depends on your mental filters, doesn’t it?

So, Dear Reader, whenever you converse and communicate, please avoid the usual “Stimulus-Response” (SR) paradigm, and instead try the Stimulus-Hypothesis-Options-Response (SHOR) paradigm.

Think about it, and do let us know your views.