Is Language our biggest barrier to Communication & Learning ??

Communication is an amazing subject. There are those who study it and plot patterns and create theories and there are those who have made a business out of imparting the secrets to powerful communication. I have attended many such courses of study starting from my school days. It is popularly believed that there are few human beings who are born with the gift of powerful and impactful communication. I wanted to share my experiences with you.
It is my experience that words (vocabulary) are often the least relevant contributor to the effectiveness of the communication. I have always found that regardless of the language/ words, most human beings form the same opinion about an individual and the interaction, based on the primitive animal sense within us. The reality is that we have been animals for millions of years and have been communicating with each other, extremely effectively, without language. We respond to the most primal needs like hunger, fear, greed, acceptance etc. The innate primal sense is so powerful that it can decode the most fundamental triggers of the human interaction. We always “know” when someone is sincere. We always “sense” when someone has a hidden agenda.
This was a week of tremendous interactions for me. I attended a conference which brought together over 50,000 people, all of whom were there to find more business, more opportunities, more connections. It was an amazing display of the power of creativity and innovation, the dramatic impact that technology is making to our daily lives and yet, at the core, most business was done on the basis of the same primal senses.
Every culture and country in the world was represented in the conference and yet, those who created impact were people who had sincerity in their tone. These were the people who were willing to listen to others and be inclusive in their approach to knowledge assimilation and dissemination. They were generous in the sharing of their wisdom & perspectives. Their energy was perceptible and there was a magnetism around them that was so irresistible. They were supremely self assured and did not focus on establishing their credentials of success. They were not hungry for the visibility or the credit or the bonus. They are genuine & they care about your perspective.
Their focus is on creating “connect”. They recognize that the world is interdependent. They focus on the “connect” of thoughts, people, concepts and their power lies in the ability to plot the underlying pattern of interdependence & build further on it. They simplify. They remove the bias of language, prejudice, individual experiences & perceptions.
I believe that one of the key enablers to powerful connect, is the ability to assimilate our learning and experiences in an unbiased fashion. I have found that all of us tend to “classify” everything that we learn or experience. Taxonomy, classification and reference-ability are definitely needed to enable retrieval of stored information. However, I believe that the human mind is far more powerful that the most powerful storage network or the most advanced search engine or the most innovative cloud computing. It has the phenomenal ability to store, search and retrieve relevant information from years of unconnected learning and experiences.
However, it is our learning disabilities that prevent us from utilizing this powerful mind. Most of us have a tendency to classify and tag our inputs. Language (vocabulary) tends to be one of the biggest contributors to this tagging/ referencing that we undertake. We do it on basis of the defined taxonomy norms coupled with our sense of relevance. We also filter it, most unfortunately, on the basis of the people that we receive the knowledge or the experience from. As a result, we force the knowledge to be boxed into very specific reference tags in our mind and it fundamentally prevents us from retrieving that knowledge or experience in a different context or in a different situation. I firmly believe that the more generous we are in receiving and absorbing knowledge and experiences, the greater is our ability to connect them. They tend to “notice” little things, create and plot patterns of seemingly unconnected things, operate very comfortably in zones of chaos and easily fit in into the zones of discomfort. They are the people who seem to always be anchored, self assured & balanced.
It’s amazingly liberating when we eliminate the boundaries imposed by language & its related prejudices. Generosity, both when learning and sharing, is a powerful contributor to our indirect sphere of influence.
Happy i-fluencing!!

About ifluence

I am an eternal optimist and a very strong believer in the power of influence & belief. It has been my experience that most corporations spend disproportionate time in improving productivity of machines, processes, etc but do mere lip service to improving the real capabilities of people. I have always found that people, who feel connected, listened to and cared for genuinely, create a discontinous and disproportionate level of performance, that far outweighs any productivity increase. I am dedicating this blog to sharing my experiences and perspectives on unlocking the power of people.
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3 Responses to Is Language our biggest barrier to Communication & Learning ??

  1. Another writer says:

    It is interesting that you have talked about the one “sense” that is generally ignored in all traditional discussions about effective communication – the heart. Immense amount of focus is put on words, gestures, the eyes, body language…yet we forget the most powerful connector, the heart with it’s infinite capability for generosity, acceptance and connect.

    It is the heart too that can create the biggest barriers to communication, with inhibition, self absorption, fear, hatred.

    Awesome view into communication. Thanks for sharing. Happy ifluencing!

  2. Raman DHooria says:

    Good read, Kartik. Communication is basically ‘connect’ and ‘sincerity’ accentuates the impact. We can see how children communicate with each other. They fight, they sense what others would do, at times i think they know things and can develop connect without the power of expression with language.

    One thing which i must share with you – you had motivated me to write (remember, you helped me with an article for BaaN magazine in UK). I have written a small book and which has been published by Microsoft India and I am a regular writer on (Link –

    Cheers, Raman

  3. Anon says:

    I do agree that the people who create impact are those that are sincere in their tone. Just this past week, I was listening to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell” on NPR.Larry King was a guest on this show and one of the things that Larry mentioned was about his very first stint as a radio show host. He goes on to explain that he was ON AIR but was extremely nervous and the words simply would not come out! At that time his boss opens the door to the recording studio and says -“This is a talk show and you are in the communications business.For God’s sake, COMMUNICATE” and that is what Larry did. Larry explained to his audience of how nervous he was and how his boss had just walked in and asked him to communicate.He hit it off and there was no looking back. I think everyone likes a person that speaks his or her mind and with a bit of humor you are all set to rock.

    You have picked a very good topic (communication) to write on!Thanks for sharing.

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