Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Communication is 50-50

Yes, it's a cliche, but cliches start somewhere.

You are reading what I am writing. That means an attempt at communication is happening.

I'm trying to share a point of view, and you are trying to understand my point of view (and then you can agree or disagree later).

I have a responsibility to make myself clear. To use clear language, to use words that are relevant to my point, and to include enough details or examples that you have a reference point in the myriad of possible interpretations of my words and phrases.

You have a responsibility to put some effort imto understanding what I'm saying. If my point is not automatically clear, you have a responsibility to take a deep breath and think about it. If a word or phrase has multiple potential meanings, you have a duty to put some effort into figuring out which meaning I intend, so that you can help yourself understand what I'm trying to say.

In my practical experience, people fail to carry their weight in one side or the other, leading to pointless and unnecessary conflict, especiallyion the Interwebs.

I'm sure you've seen it:
- Someone makes an unclear statement with multiple potential meanings;
- An audience member makes no effort to interpret the intended meaning, and instead either gets pissy or provides an invalidating retort;
- The original speaker gets pissy about how stupid the audience member is for failing to understand "the obvious," and/or takes offense at not being validated, and escalates the pissiness;
- Blah, blah, stupid fight that didn't need to happen.

I see it online and offline every damn day. That's why I make an effort to make myself clear ("Use more words!") and make an effort to slow down, try to understand, and try to not get pissy.

Sometimes I do a good job, sometimes I don't, but I'm sure as fuck bragging about trying harder than the average bear.