Posts tagged ‘Communication’
Communication is a funny thing. We all do it, every day, our whole lives. For something we practice so much, why is it so hard?
When I was teaching undergraduate psychology classes I administered multiple-choice tests. I will never forget the time a student came up to me during the test, read the question verbatim and asked me if that was what I meant. The student was satisfied when I said yes (I mean, what else could I say?). I assume it was the inflection she used when she read the question out loud that helped her understand what I was asking.
My sister, Diana, relayed another story involving a funny communication mishap. Our mom got a DVR and was having trouble working it. When the cable guy first installed it, Mom couldn’t figure out how to turn the TV on so she moved to a different room with a TV that she knew how to operate.
Rather than continuing to suffer in silence, she called the cable company and asked for help. When the technician arrived, she told him that she had a defective unit because her DVR wasn’t saying anything. He asked her what she meant and she told him that Diana told her it would talk to her and it wasn’t. Not surprisingly, the technician refuted the existence of talking DVRs.
Diana insisted that she didn’t say the DVR could talk. But as she was telling the story, we realized what must have happened. She told Mom that it would “tell you” things (via the onscreen guide). It would “tell you” what shows were on so you could decide what you wanted to watch or record. This was the only explanation we could come up with for the “talking” DVR.
I experienced another communication breakdown when I got lost and stopped at McDonald’s to get my bearings. I walked up to the counter and asked the young woman where I was. She replied “Look around – you’re in McDonalds. Duh!”
After all this, I guess I have concluded that writing isn’t that different than Human Resources or any other profession for that matter. We need to communicate well in order to be effective regardless of what we do in life. With that I in mind I close with the following quote from Robert McCloskey, an author and illustrator of children’s books:
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
May the farce be with you!
In communicating the company dress code, one of my former managers wrote “no belly bearing”. It conjured an image in my mind of taking a wheel off of a car to check the bearings. I’m pretty sure she meant no bare bellies but that’s not what she wrote. In honor of her fractured memo, I present the following Fractured Clichés.
Fractured Cliché: Bare in mind (like a presenter seeing their audience naked)
Correct Cliché: Bear in mind (like Yogi and Boo Boo)
Fractured Cliché: Bare with me (the presenter must be naked too)
Correct Cliché: Bear with me (grrrr)
May the farce be with you!