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Small Group Facilitation: Improving Process and Performance in Groups and Teams by Judith A. Kolb

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Transfer of Meaning

I’ll start with one of my favorite sayings: meaning does not equal meaning.

Meaning ≠ Meaning

Whenever I use this phrase, people respond with head nods and stories about how meaning varies among people. This is especially relevant for group communication since so many people are involved. It is naïve to assume that everyone understands everyone else.

In any dialogue, what I understood that you said may or may not be what you intended to say. There are many reasons for this. If you say, “Please bring home a gallon of milk,” to a longstanding partner or roommate, this request needs little clarification. The listener knows what kind of milk (full, 2%, 1%, nonfat, organic), what brand, and what type of packaging. If someone is ...

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