Is communication ever simple?
When we communicate with our fellow humans, so many things can go wrong. We may say too much or too little. We may use the wrong tone of voice or make incorrect assumptions about the listener. We may thoughtlessly spread casual gossip. We may unintentionally hurt, offend, confuse, mislead, deceive, interrupt, baffle, insult, ignore, irritate, or simply bore our audience. When it comes to blogging and social media, mindful communication becomes even more of a concern.
I came across this verse in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town on the Prairie, and I think it speaks for itself in any century.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek, Five things observe with care, To whom you speak, Of whom you speak, And how, and when, and where. ~Your loving mother, C. L. Ingalls, De Smet, November 15th, 1881
While considering the complexity and perils of modern communication, I discovered some other interesting advice. (The quotations below are from thinkexist.com)
Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way. ~John Kotter
To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. ~ Anthony Robbins
The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. ~Anthony Robbins
I especially like the Anthony Robbins quote about communication and differences in perception, because I find that some people respond poorly to my verbal communication style, which is more straight forward than my writing style. I believe that honesty is the simplest policy, in most cases. Much fuss has been made about the differences in communication styles between men and women, but I find as much difficulty – if not more – between the communication styles of different generations and different cultures, and also with a number of individuals who plainly do not share my direct approach.
When have you had trouble communicating because of differences in communication style?
Have you attributed the difficulty to sex, age, culture, or individual perspectives?