The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
Some of you have heard me recently express my concern that the information explosion that we live with everyday is often form over substance. We are inundated with messages and unfiltered content that can easily make the process of verifying, selecting, managing and absorbing what is available so time consuming that we don’t really process it all. And before you say anything, yes I realize I am one of those sources that load up in-boxes, but I do understand that each of you makes the choice as to what you read and hear and what you don’t.
What concerns me is that I often feel we have become so enamored by the message vehicle that we think that dazzling formats, attention grabbing tricks and the like add so much value to a message that we often lose the meaning of the content. It is hard enough in today’s polarized society to find accuracy when so many are coloring the messages with their perspective to have communications further complicated by style.
My fear is that the sheer volume of what we receive via the media and voice has turned us into abridged thinkers, reducing our ability to process truly important information. I would like to see the return of effective communicators in lieu of stylistic message transmitters. It is like the age old question, is a sound a sound if it is unheard? And in this case is a message a message if it is not understood? I have learned the necessity for me to feedback to people what I think they said in order for me to make absolutely sure that I have it right, often there is something I didn’t understand and in every case the communicator knows that their message was received. In order for communications to really work we must train ourselves to truly listen and process the messages and when we do we will soon learn what to select and absorb and what to jettison as a waste of our precious time.
Here is something Steve Brunkhurst wrote recently that I think is worth your consideration.
Five Lessons about Communication
Powerful communication involves timing, silence, listening, actions, and carefully chosen words and emotions…
1. First Things First
Communication involves making internal choices. Timing can make all the difference when conveying your thoughts. Some things need to be said up front, and some things are better said later. Knowing the difference is crucial. If there is something important that you need to say to someone, say it now. There isn’t always a second chance.
2. Silence is Powerful
Moments of silence can sometimes send the most powerful messages. Not every moment in a conversation needs to be filled with spoken words. Sometimes silence is more telling, effective, necessary, and appropriate.
3. Messages are Everywhere
Listen deeply, not only to what a person is saying. Listen to what they are not saying. Hear the messages between words, within emotions, and in the choices of words used. Often, these silent messages are not there by accident. Ask questions and confirm what you think you heard.
4. Actions Tell the Story
Actions are the greatest tellers of the truth. They need to be congruent with our words. This is a powerful lesson that is often overlooked. Powerful communication requires watching and doing as well as speaking and listening. Actions that back up words will build trust.
5. Turn to the Appropriate Emotional Page
Match your emotions to the needs of your communication partner. Children are especially sensitive to the emotions accompanying our words. In order to hear our messages, they need for us to be on the same page with their level of enthusiasm. Emotions and words chosen and measured carefully allow us to communicate with empathy while communicating with honesty.
You’ll Know Yours Is A Redneck Church If:
The finance committee refuses to provide funds for the purchase of a chandelier because none of the members knows how to play one.
People ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait was used to catch ’em.
Opening day of deer season is recognized as an official church holiday.
The choir is known as the "OK Chorale."
Boone’s Farm "Tickle Pink" is the favorite wine for communion.
Finding and returning lost sheep isn’t just a parable.
High notes on the organ set the dogs on the floor to howling.
People think "rapture" is what you get when you lift something too heavy.
The choir robes were donated by (and embroidered with the logo from) Billy Bob’s Barbecue.
The collection plates are really hub caps from a ’56 Chevy.
INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
The Smiths were dining out when his wife noticed her ex-husband at the bar.
"Honey," she said as she pointed the guy out, "that guy at the bar has been drinking like that since I left him seven years ago."
Her husband said, "That’s silly, no one celebrates that much."
The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.
Perks of Being Over 60
1. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
2. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.
3. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
4. People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
7. Things you buy now won’t wear out.
8. You can eat dinner at 4 P.M.
9. You can live without sex but not without glasses.
10. You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.
11. You get into heated arguments about pension plans and politicians.
12. You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.
13. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
14. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
15. You sing along with the music piped into the Mall.
16. Your eyes won’t get much worse.
17. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
18. Your ankles swell and you can’t feel them either.
19. You have lost your sense of smell.
20. Your taste buds only sense the alcohol in medicines. and worst of all…… You can’t remember who sent you this darn list.
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
The new Librarian decided that instead of checking out children’s books by writing the names of borrowers on the book cards herself, she would have the youngsters sign their own names. She would then tell them they were signing a "Contract" for returning the books on time.
Her first customer was a second grader, who looked surprised to see a new Librarian. He brought four books to the desk and shoved them across to the Librarian, giving her his name as he did so.
The Librarian pushed the books back and told him to sign them out. The boy laboriously printed his name on each book card and then handed them to her with a look of utter disgust.
Before the Librarian could even start her speech he said, scornfully, "That other Librarian we had could write."
Ever notice that you have to get to church pretty early to find a seat in the back row?
A young man was walking past an old woman on a street corner, when she said, "Son, if it is not too much trouble, can you see me across the street."
The young man said, "Just a minute." Then he walked across the street, looked back and yelled, "Yes, I can see you!"
The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
Edward R. Murrow
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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