“I said for you listen some more on me.”
Perfectly understandable. No? Ever considered Listener heard exactly those words?
For ages we have held ourselves above the animals because of our advanced communication system. Balderdash.
With our ever-packed calendars we have a tendency to read the headlines and determine everything we need to know from the six to ten words someone picked out to get our attention.
Man Detained in Child Rape Case
Why is the talk around the water cooler of neutering him? The man was the child’s father. It took the police more than six hours to get to him before they asked three questions which definitively proved it was not him. Had the story led with the last two paragraphs, all of the readers would have known.
The Grammar Nazi says,
We write millions of words everyday. We speak nearly ten times as many as we write. We listen to about a third as many as we speak. With all of those words, you would believe we had a pretty good grasp of language. Folderol.
Each language has foibles and is subject to operator error. Perhaps, licensing would help. On second thought, have you ever read a law? Chances are good licensing would be a fine print nightmare, subject to interpretation.
Even if we can agree we speak the same language, interpretation is the same in a single language as it is language-to-language.
Man Knocks Up Neighbor
Depending on which English-speaking country you are in the man:
A. Visited his neighbor
B. Impregnated his neighbor
C. Pummeled his neighbor
Toss out the cultural phenomenon of idioms and adages, and we are still left with the conundrum of misunderstanding. The meanings of the words are important.
A daughter asked her mother for a review for a poetry collection. The mother refused. The daughter inquired, “Why?”
I don’t understand poetry.”
The stunned silence was one of incredulity. The mother was college-educated, a lifelong climber at the top of the corporate ladder and emotionally connected to the daughter. It was not that the mother could not understand; she had been conditioned to believe the formatting, rhyme and meter were beyond her understanding.
What helps solve the communication malfunctions, abuse and disconnects?
1. Fewer words.
2. Less talking.
One of the main consequences of speaking less is more listening. It gives us more opportunity to figure out if Listener understood.
3. Less rush.
By taking the time to read or listen, we have a better understanding of the message being conveyed. If all we needed were headlines, we would not need 24-hour news channels. We could get all our news from Twitter.
How often do others confuse your communication? Do you know someone you never understand? Why do we insist on drawing conclusions without the whole story?
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© Red Dwyer 2013
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