Am I Being Understood?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” G.B. Shaw

In a recent DSC staff workshop, as we grappled with the complexities that Mr. Shaw’s aphorism implies, I could not stop thinking about the donkeys and the nature of  my communication with them.  Too often I am not understood but then. when I stop and consider the exchange, it is really I who is not comprehending. There follow a few guidelines for all communication, human/equine and otherwise:

  1. Be sensitive to the environment – Am I interrupting something? Are there other distractions?
  2. Be aware of body language – Are my movements threatening? Where are my hands?
  3. Be concise – Are my words tumbling out like so many shots from a machine gun?
  4. Be calm – Am I shouting?
  5. Be clear – Did I really communicate what I meant to communicate?
  6. Be respectful –  Did I presume that the other party was dumb?

Sandra Pady, DSC Exec. Direc.


One thought on “Am I Being Understood?”

  1. OMG, this post could not have come at a more appropriate time for me. I just came out of a 2-hour meeting at work about how we communicate with each other in our group, and guess what, we are all professional communicators! I think the biggest problem is that people may not perceive how they are being received. They think they’re being friendly but their words are annoying and condescending. Effective communication, or lack of it, especially in the workplace, is a huge problem, and never addressed sufficiently when we’re all kids and most vulnerable and/or receptive and in need of this information. Thanks for posting these tips, I’m going to circulate them to my group and post them on my cubicle wall.

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