Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Failure To Communicate

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate." ~ Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Add that to the list of famous lines that I use from movies created before I was put on this earth.  Just as that phrase has stood the test of time, so will our inability to accurately communicate everything we experience on a daily basis.  It's very difficult to truly be able to share what we're feeling inside with someone else.  It's like WE know what we're trying to say, but like a "male plug" into a "female socket", we can't make the connection.  Here's some more proof:

Actual writings on hospital charts
- "She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states that she was very hot in bed last night."
- "Patient says she has chest pain if she lays on her side for over a year."
- "On the second day the knee was better, and on the third it disappeared."
- "The patient is tearful and crying constantly.  She also appears to be depressed."
- "The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993."
- "Discharge Status:  Alive, but without my permission."
- "Patient had waffles for breakfast, and anorexia for lunch."
- "She is numb from the toes down."
- "Patient was alert and unresponsive."

Being able to effectively communicate how your feeling can not only increase the quality of your relationships, it can also, apparently, save your life.  There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to convey your feelings properly.  A big reason why it's so challenging:  there are two minds involved.

It takes us, as individuals, some amount of time to be able to process feelings, moods, experiences, circumstances, successes, losses, etc.  We have thousands upon thousands of thoughts going through our minds a day, and hardly enough time to figure out how we feel about each one of them individually.  As if that wasn't enough, we're then expected to be able to communicate these feelings with those closest to us, in our personal lives, and also our workplace.

Unless you're a tollbooth operator, your likely have an opinion valued by more than a few people.  Being able to communicate these opinions can be improved by following these seven steps:

1 - Be articulate:  Speak clearly, avoid mumbling, use simple, straight-forward words.
2 - Listen actively:  Communicating is a two-way street
3 - Be confident
4 - Be interesting:  listeners will reciprocate your emotions - show excitement, get excitement
5 - Stay on topic
6 - Use facial expressions consciously
7 - Communicate eye-to-eye

I can't guarantee this will save relationships or get you that next promotion, but it certainly can't hurt.

"I went to the bookstore and asked the salesperson, "Where's the self-help section?".  She said she'd like to help me, but if she did, it would defeat the purpose."


  1. Hilarious actual writings! Your advice is spot on too.

    I gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards since I think your message is important for many too heed.

    In joy,

  2. Before you were born??? Aarrrgggh!

    Very funny post and well deserving of the Goddess Award. What has happened to our ability to speak speak well?

    There's a Mercedes commercial running now that brags of "More power, more style, more technology, and less doors." Does that mean owners on get half-doors? The ad should say "More this... more that... more the other thing, and less articulate."

  3. Couldn't agree "more".....Its crazy how many commercials and advertising pieces I see these days that leave me wondering, "how could this have possibly been accepted by their marketing department?!" See: any Olive Garden commercial, CarFax commercial, Arby's, Rent-a-Center, Old Navy....

  4. Loved this! Great advice, too! I'm visiting from toasting the best posts of the week.

  5. Great advice. As someone who works in Communications...I still struggle to be heard every day!

  6. Thanks Keely.....here's hoping we can figure it out! :)