COMMUNICATION between two people depends on many things, such as who is sending a message to whom and whether the receiver actually receives the message which the sender has intended him or her to get. Get it? If not, don't feel bad. Many people do not pay enough attention to the way in which we communicate and if we are actually understood. Unless we at least try to understand how communication fails there will continue to be communication breakdowns among more people than just those of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments. Generally, we can understand communication to be thus a message which is sent from one person to another which is understood by the receiver as the sender has intended it to be. Usually we cannot tell if our message has been understood unless we get some kind of feedback. Two kinds of communication that we will look at here are verbal and non-verbal communication. One is certainly not more important than the other since they are both essential to being understood. Verbal Communication - When discussing something with someone, they may not get your exact meaning because of several problems including: Lacking of interest - the receiver's attention may not be on what you are trying to say. Poor expression - perhaps you did not express yourself well enough. Emotions - too much or too little emotion may harm communication. Physical barriers - perhaps you or the receiver is tired, stressed, not feeling well, or it is too noisy, too hot or cold. Individual differences - our ability to be unique including age, sex, education, race, culture and language spoken may make it difficult for someone to understand us. The ''generation gap'' - interest and activities between different age groups are not usually the same. Other difficulties which exist in Hong Kong, are those related to language. Since the territory has a wonderful blend of people from around the world, communication breakdowns occur regularly because of language difficulties including: Pronunciation - people speaking the same language may pronounce their words differently than what the receiver is used to. Idiom - we may not mean something literally. ''Let's hit the road'' doesn't actually mean you're going to pound the street with your fist. Vocabulary - by using difficult vocabulary we might confuse the receiver. Use simple language. Non-Verbal Communication - All cultures have non-verbal communication patterns, or ways which we use to communicate where we do not use spoken language. It is important to remember that we learn non-verbal behaviour from within our own culture and environment. We should be careful not to misinterpret the behaviour of people from a culture different from our own. Think about some of these: Pointing a finger close to your friend's face. Sticking out your tongue. Slamming a door. Kissing or hugging someone in public. Waving at someone with your right hand. You may think that some of these or all of these actions are acceptable, however, in some cultures they are considered completely unacceptable. What we say without words can have very different meanings to people we are trying to communicate with. The way we stand, sit, use different parts of our faces, move our head, hands, fingers and arms all ''speak'' to people in ways which we may not even be aware of. Think about what your body is ''saying''. Although we hope that most people look past our physical appearance to listen to what we have to say, many people react in some way to what we look like. Some people make judgments based on how we style our hair, what we wear, whether or not we are tall, short, dark, light, big or small. If our receiver can get past all of the physical influences, perhaps the tone of our voice, how quickly or slowly we speak, or how often we say ''um'', ''well'' or ''okay'' might affect what they hear us say.