The Beast Of Communication Terror Live Under Your Tongue? In
Your Ears? If So...Let's Shoo Him Away.
ZERO PLUS 1179 DAYS,--New York, NY, Saturday,
December 4, 2004--Ever
feel the terror of knowing you heard one thing said by another
but having them tell you that's not what they said or meant,
and feeling as though you were in the Twilight Zone, or a bald-faced
liar, or that whomever was telling you they didn't say what
they said was simply trying to make you look stupid?
of the great Terrors is that of being "misunderstood"
the great Terrors is that of being "misunderstood."
It happens daily in our personal, business, social, political,
parental and economic lives in greater or lesser degrees.
and every case, our integrity is at question, for we are either
being told or assuming that either we or the "other party"
are so off beam that we might not regain our balance.
when we do something or perform some act and then are criticized
for either doing it or not doing per what we "think"
or "believe" we were told, and the person who communicated
the task or job comes to us and stands before our face and stares
at us and says: "That's not what I said I wanted,"
we shrink or we grow angry.
relationships when we say something to someone and they "misunderstand"
what we said, we often end up in mortal battle over the "meaning"
of what we said, with inferences being hurled like shrapnel
from a hand grenade laced with acidic commentaries such as:
"You never listen..." Or, "You always want it
your way..." Or, "Why can't I be right for a change....that's
not what you said.." Or, "I don't care what you said,
I know what you meant..."
Terrorism is far more than just a misunderstanding of
words between parties
Terrorism is far more than just a misunderstanding of words
between parties. Communication Terrorism goes to the core of
the message and messenger's self worth, for in a dispute, one
party commonly surrenders, subordinates to the other with comments
such as: "Oh, I'm sorry...I thought..." Or, "I
guess I misunderstood what you said..." Or, "Okay,
Okay, so I made a mistake. Get over it. I'll do it you're way..."
lead to violence when parties refuse to agree that there was
a disagreement, or, who have found it easy to use a misunderstood
conversation as a tripwire for starting another "emotional
war" where the lambasting and denigration of each other
is the only source of interpersonal communication.
a solution to being Vigilant in communications, but, it is a
herculean task for many reasons.
of languages on a global basis might add to "miscommunication"
let's look at the global problem and then reduce it to our personal
the more than 6 billion people on this living in more than 200
countries speak in excess of 6,800 known languages. Of these,
according to yourdictionary.com,
2,261 have writing systems while the balance are spoken.
fragmentation of languages on a global basis goes deeper than
the 6,800 known languages. There are at least 41,000 alternative
names and dialects, adding more reasons why there might possibly
be "miscommunication" between nations, peoples and
even brothers and sisters who live in different areas or sectors
where language meaning and customs vary.
unsure of this need only pick up the phone and call into different
parts of America. The East Coaster will find the Southern Belle
quite different from the Mid Western or Texas Communicator.
within America there is additional diversity. In New York City's
public school system, for example, of the more than 200 nations
represented by the United Nations, children from 198 of those
are enrolled in NYC schools. In many homes, the language spoken
is the "mother tongue."
cultural languages also, broken down often by the sector of
the "street" from which a person comes. The accent
of a New York East Side Latino may be as much a fingerprint
of where that person is from as that of an El Paso Latino.
American English is often a magnet for misunderstanding
American speaking ebonics from Brooklyn can well sound like
a foreigner to an African American from Portland, Oregon.
the world's miscommunication booby traps have to do with me
and my daily life?
is that our "small" daily lives are nothing more than
a microcosm of the global community. Even though we "think"
we speak the "same" language at home and work and
in our local communities, we really don't. We speak "individual
dialects" based on what we "think" or "believe"
we mean, regardless of what another "hears" or "assumes"
or "thinks" he or she has heard.
words, almost everything we say to another is subject to revision,
editing, alternation, adjustment by their "language"
sifter rendering our communication vulnerable to all kinds of
that when words leave our mouths we cannot control how they
will be received or whether the person receiving them will understand
exactly what we meant by them, is a quick path toward becoming
a victim of Communication Terrorism.
others to understand, respect and act upon your comments, suggestions,
ideas or other items of concern in the way you spell it out
is like lining your path from the bedroom to the bathroom with
land mines and hoping that in the dark when you get up and "have
to go" that you'll be able to avoid blowing off your foot.
seem like simple commands often become boulders, impossible
exactly what we do with our spouses, our children, our loved
ones. We make comments or express things in hopes the other
party will carry them out the way we "expect" them
to be done. We don't take into consideration that as we are
telling Little Johnny to go clean up his room that in little
Johnny's cluttered mind is rattling about an idea he has to
beat Pete in Yugioh. We don't pause to wipe the clutter from
anyone's mind before we speak, or, as we would a dirty windshield
before driving into the bright sun, insure the window is clean
before we embark on "telling" someone something or
when we "express" our selves.
it out. "Go clean your room." "Did you have a
good day?" "Are you happy?" "What should
we do this weekend?" "Do your homework right now!"
like simple commands and questions often become rocks and boulders,
almost impossible to move. Getting a child to clean his or her
room or do their homework isn't just "going to happen"
without some nudging, coaxing and even threats. The same holds
true with "emotional" communication such as "Are
you happy?" or, "Did you have a good day?" or,
"What are you doing?" when all the above are so open-ended
that the person responding usually just says "fine"
to them all.
issuing such a question and getting a "brush off"
answer commonly starts to sulk or shrink back into a shell,
feeling shut out and "victimized" by the other because
there is no "desire to communicate."
person's mind, the question of: "Are you happy," is
loaded with sub questions such as "Do you love me?"
"Did you have a good day," often means, "I have
nothing worth saying so I will give you an excuse to say nothing
back with this meaningless dribble comment.."
one of the great aficionados of the art of "miscommunication,"
defined the problem in personal and business communications.
There was the message--what people said--and, the meta message--what
I. Hayakawa defined problems in personal and business
go to lunch," for example could mean everything from: "I
don't like you and would never have lunch with you because you're
a nobody and I only ask this question to the nobodys I know..."
to meaning: "I really like you...in fact I desire you...I
want to be with you so much and lunch is just an excuse for
opening a long-lasting dialog that will ripen in rich rewards
for us both..."
is about fishing. You toss out your line (words) in hopes someone
will swallow it whole (understand it as you meant it) but find
that the vast majority only nibble (get a little or some) and
at the end of the day you're exhausted because you have "few
fish" in your bag, or, those you did catch you had to beat
over the head with a club.
miscommunication can be viewed as action failure - the
speaker fails to produce the intended effect and/or the
hearer can not recognize what the speaker intended
a great Fear within us all that we will not be liked or loved
by others, and, this is exaggerated when we are not "understood."
Sadly, we take the "miscommunication" between one
person and another as reinforcement we are truly a "nobody"
and that others really "don't care" because if they
did they would honor and respect what we say.
Beast of Terror has a safe house, it's under our tongues and
that little nook in our ears where the hole seems to wend its
way to our minds.
say and what we hear defines us as people, for they represent
our inside to others (what we say or don't say) and our insides
to ourselves (what we think or believe people say or think about
us). We forget how much of our time is spent in communication--either
to ourselves through "thinking" or to others through
person will speak thousands of words in a day, (many the same
words repeated) that include the "uhs","ahs"
"whatevers" to the "will you" or "can
you" to the "yes" and countless other casual
parts of our English language's more than 800,000 total words.
that the average person's vocabulary ranges from 10,000
to 30,000 words, means there is a lot of miscommunication
possible. When we think about how many different (varied) meanings
a dictionary lists for a particular word--average of three to
four--we can multiply 800,000 times three or four and we're
in the "millions of chances" to misunderstand another's
"message" and "meta message."
line, how do we resolve this danger of berating ourselves or
others for "not caring," "not communicating,"
solution is to have the other person repeat what they said and
then for you to restate it such as: "Hey, Joe, if I heard
correctly what you were asking of me, you wanted me to do............,
is that right?"
can adjust or confirm what he said, and the two of you are on
the same relative page, however, the chances of reading the
same exact line at the same exact time is virtually impossible
unless you're Joe's clone.
helpful plan is to teach children to repeat what is requested
children, it's good to teach children to repeat to you what
you request of them. It might take little effort at the beginning,
but after a while the amount of "errors" in communication
will drop because there will be an effort by both parties to
build a bridge between the message and meta message so "true
communication" can occur.
terms, it is often best to remove one's self from the center
of the conversation and deal with a "what if" third
party conversation where the questions and answers are not directed
at you or the other person, but to the imaginary "third
party." This allows more frankness and honesty to appear,
for the discussion isn't "personal" even though it's
about personal issues.
can communicate better when we remember the Beast of Terror
hides under our tongues
We all can communicate better with others and ourselves.
If we remember the Beast of Terror hides under our tongues and
in our ears, we'll be reminded to clean our his lair before
we speak and in the process of listening.
Parent of Vigilance is never afraid of words. The ones spoken
outside by others or inside by ourselves.
the great message that needs to be delivered to our children--that
they don't need to listen to the Beast of Terror or let him
guide their tongue.
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