Communication is a Funny Thing

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Have you heard about this sign in Wales that they emailed a translator to translate a portion of the sign from English into Welsh? What ended up on the sign was the response to the email request for translation, “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.” [HT: BBC]

Communication is a funny thing. I find communication especially challenging online. It is so hard to read tone and intention into emails as we discuss things online. This is especially true when issues are heated or things are being disagreed upon. I cannot tell you how many times I have read and re-read things I have written on this blog in order to understand why someone responded so strongly to something I wrote. Many times miscommunication was at work. Either I communicated something poorly or did well but was somehow misread. Sometimes we just have to smile and just do our best. It is also wise to try not to make too strong of statements about other people’s positions online because often we don’t know the whole story.

When Missy and I went to the grocery store for the first time together as a married couple I remember telling her we needed waffles. She came back with the generic brand with blueberries added in. What she didn’t understand was that when I said Waffles what I really meant was an Ego 8 pack of plain buttermilk waffles. I couldn’t believe she didn’t know what to get when she was asked to get waffles! Assumptions often color the way we communicate and it is often helpful to keep it simple, say exactly what we mean, and discuss only one or two things at a time before moving on to more issues.

I humbly and willingly accept my own fault in misreading others, making assumptions about what people mean, and for plain old not really listening or reading what someone else is saying/writing because I am busily formulating my answer to each point rather than letting their words impact me.

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