“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:
- Be sensitive to the environment – Am I interrupting something? Are there other distractions?
- Be aware of body language – Are my movements threatening? Where are my hands?
- Be concise – Are my words tumbling out like so many shots from a machine gun?
- Be calm – Am I shouting?
- Be clear – Did I really communicate what I meant to communicate?
- Be respectful – Did I presume that the other party was dumb?
Sandra Pady, DSC Exec. Direc.