Right up to yesterday, I've spent or misspent a 25-year-career trying to articulate what communication is. A little late, it occurs to me I might have been better off all along describing what communication is not.
Communication is either I have something in my head that I'd like to put in your head. Or, communication is I think there's something your head that I want inside mine.
Communication is not:
Covering your ass.
Trying to get a rise out of people.
Trying to get attention.
Being nice to people you don't like.
Subtly insulting your wife, for some reason.
Those things are all time-honored and legitimate human activities, with names of their own. Names other than communication.
Strunk & White said, "When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of your having said it are only fair."
Murray says, "When you say you're communicating, make sure you're communicating, and not doing some other thing instead."
1. I love this post and totally agree.
2. Most people don’t want to communicate. It’s too hard to come up with independent thought and then share it in such a way that others understand what you mean.
3. What they want to do is “some other thing instead,” because bombast and verbal fireworks are so much more FUN, especially when they can repeat stuff that someone else said that sounded really impressive to them, and (in their small minds) sound really impressive as well.
David Murray says
Bingo, Amy. And it IS fun to spew. Until the end of the next morning, when you realize you’ve had no new ideas nor built your relationships or your community, and all you have is a big mess to clean up.
JAVIER CERVANTES says
A few beers and your post above would make quite an evening.
David Murray says
How about tennis, a few beers and my post above?