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Communication


Apart from God's Word, there is no more important study in the world than communication. Without communication, the Bible would be of no use to human beings. Hence, this page is presented to help improve your communication skills.

How to ensure your message is getting through: two (2) points

Updated: December 2, 2020.

I could ask you, "Have you ever been surprised and frustrated that your side of a discussion didn't get through?," or I might pose it as, "How many times have you been surprised...etc.etc." We've all encountered this many times in our discussions with others. Is there some quick and easy way to avoid those many instances of "miscommunication?" There is.

I share with you two ways to help offset misunderstandings in human interactions: supply sufficient ingredients and ask questions.

Point 1: to be clear as a sender, try to include all of the ingredients (criteria if you like) of your thoughts on a subject in as few words as possible (had to say that; more words does not necessarily create clear communication; sometimes less is more). Famous journalist William Saffire was good at this. So was Ernest Hemmingway, who reviewed every word he wrote to determine whether it was necessary and actually earned "its right" to remain on the page.

Point 2: always ask questions as to what you're saying, yes even while you're saying it to determine whether it is understandable to the other person. Yes, I realize this takes more time. Q. How much time (and money?) will you waste if your communication isn't clear and you experience surprise or shock later when you have to repeat it. This might seem simple; it is simple...better, more simplistic. But it also makes for less confusion and frustration, surprises and an occasional shock. Will you try these two points to see if they work?

Here's to better and more understandable conversations. jwa

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Weapons of Influence (and their power in media and politics)

Updated: November 17, 2020.

You might be interested in Dr. Robert Cialdini's (Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University) book titled, "Influence: Science and Practice" (3rd ed.; may be a later ed.) In his eye-opening text, we see six weapons of influence that contribute to social influence, including, yes...an entire society! Cialdini explores six basic (and very powerful) principles of psychology that direct human behavior: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. There you will find out why and how people are swayed by media and politics. You don't want to miss out on this. Do yourself a favor and read it.

Enjoy your week; be safe. jwa

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Influence and Persuasion in Politics

Updated: Monday November 9, 2020.

Based on the news, millions are tired of the political squabblings and arguments on whose personal agenda is best for everyone. How about you? Were you influenced and persuaded in this regard? I've had enough training in influence and persuasion to be wary of those who appear to be comfortable when blatantly making false charges of others. We all are aware to some degree with people who do this with impunity. Sometimes it takes a little longer to perceive the not-so subtle attacks on people, when false and misleading accusations might appear to have substance, but later on they show their true nature.

For those of you who were brought up in a family culture that highlighted fairness and justice, it's difficult to put up with such nonsense. But some people don't view the values of fairness and justice like we'd like them to. For them, their charges against others seems as right as any other value. Their attitude allows them to freely influence and persuade others to join them in their way of thinking.

I once read an article in a Law Review Journal that posed the title, "Politics is violence." (Politics can be either singular or plural.) No, not politics DOES violence (although it does). But, politics IS (or ARE) violent. If you're a realist, politics is based on the use of power even if it's wrong (eg., Machivallien: the end justifies the means); it's dangerous and literally does violence to the human mind and heart, individuals, families, and entire nations (logic and emotion). Haven't we witnessed this in the recent presidential campaign. The questions remains: is there a healthy and helpful remedy to politics? Amazingly, there is.

The answer to human politics, based on God's Word, is...God. God doesn't play politics. He judges fairly, righteously. His judgment is based on His divine laws (yes, the 10 Commandments that have never been removed by God: compare Matt. 5:17-19; Matt. 19:17; Rev. 22:14) and see where God's laws are still extant; Jesus Christ didn't come to destroy them, though many say He did.

America claims that its judgments are based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, the Bible. The problem is that people cite God and the Bible and then promptly follow their own rules. That brings us to politics and humans using their own reasonings that substitute for God's laws. As long as this continues, people will be swayed by politicians and out of that...comes division. Doesn't sound very encouraging, right? I often wonder why men and women, who know how ugly politics can get when damaging someone's reputation, still pursue it (could power, recognition, and privilege be at work here?).

Good news! God has promised to rectify all this when He sends Christ Jesus to save humankind from itself and right the wrongs of human beings (Isa. 11:1-9). He will surely do this and if you're alive then, you'll see it.

For now, we will have to suffer the slings and arrows of political skulduggery (if we choose to watch it). We have hope in God's promise that He will send Christ to rule humankind in love and righteousness. There is divine light at the end of the dark tunnel of this life.

All the best to you and may God give you His peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7). jwa

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"What's really on your mind? (Please let us know.)"

Edited and updated: Friday, October 23, 2020.

As a speech communication consultant (MA, SpCom, CalStateFullerton 1995), I've had the opportunity to teach speech communication to a few thousand people over many decades. More recently, I've become more acutely aware of the basics of human communication that include articulating what's in the sender's mind (here on: the sender) and asking questions for clarification (here on: the receiver).

Good communication requires sending and receiving messages effectively. Always, always, and always in human communication...there are senders and receivers and as well, each one becomes both a sender and a receiver in a dyadic conversation (that's two people conversing). This is where we begin in good human communication. And here's the insatiable or unquenchable difficulty: most people assume that if they know what is in their minds, everyone else sees the same images they see. Obviously this can't be. Did I say, obviously this can't be? Highly important fact of communication. Both senders and receivers get annoyed or, if details have been left out and are now glaringly obvious, apologize over faulty communication. (Sad but true, some don't apologize; it's too difficult for them. This reminds me of President Ronald Reagan's famous line: "Some people grow old without growing up." Go ahead and use this...no extra charge :).

The fact that important details of interactive communication are seldom provided is the very reason for why they should. We would do well to get over any personal annoyances regarding communicative misunderstandings. Consider these unique variables (not to be confused with "very unique" or "more unique": the term unique is already "very" and "more" from the ordinary): these are common to/with both senders and receivers: a) different genders: folks we just don't think alike...God's plan; b) different family backgrounds; c) different ages; d) different jobs; e) different educations; f) different ethnicities; g) different cultures; h) different talents and abilities; i) different worldviews, and j) different attitudes, to name a few different and differing human variables. (Surely there are more.) So why should we expect that everyone thinks exactly like we do? Scarey, right?

If you desire to be "understood" better as a SENDER, accept the fact that WHAT you desire to share is IN YOUR MIND (though that might be without good focus); ALWAYS REMEMBER: your thoughts are NOT automatically in the RECEIVER'S mind (see above). So, no, most receivers are not "dumb." The problem usually begins with the sender. That doesn't mean the receiver is off "scot free." A good receiver should do what he or she can do to find out, to discover, what the receiver's message is about by asking questions. If you're serious about improving your interactions with others, remember to ask questions to discover the detailed imagery in the sender's mind. (I think that's the fun part of communicative interactions, although sometimes you'll "touch a nerve" by asking questions. Be sure that your questions are asked in sincerity, not attempting to disparage the other person with persiflage.

So, what's really on your mind? For good and productive communicative acts, both senders and receivers are responsible to share detailed imagery and ask questions. Here's to more satisfying conversations.

Incidentally, my book "EZSpeakers" is still on Amazon.com. I invite you to check my reviews there. https://www.amazon.com/Ezspeakers-Public-Speaking-Business-Pleasure/product-reviews/1432779281.

All the best, jwa.

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Why Articulate well?

Updated: 9.18.20

Do you watch TV or for the younger generation, social media, and have difficulty making out what someone is saying? I watch TV journalists alot, not addictively but alot. Some anchors and other on-air performers appear to assume that they way they articulate their stories is their 'pièce de résistance', that is, it can't be resisted, cuz it's the best!

The journalist might also deliver in monotone, without changing the pitch or tone. This gets boring quickly. I move on.

To articulate well is to speak fluently and coherently, in a logical and consistent way. If you want people to listen to you, you may need to ratchet up your speaking game a little.

Listen to speakers who do these things and try to imitate them. You can learn to articulate well and more people will want to hear you speak and listen to your ideas.

Have a great weekend. jwa

Is One-way Communication good enough?

Updated: 9.15.20

Is one-way communication the best communication possible? That is, if you or I communicate an idea or thought to someone else and he or she doesn't seem to understand, is it correct to think that it's their problem? Yes and no. Yes it could be if they're not really listening and no, it could be that there's not enough information shared with the receiver's mind that helps clarify the speaker's message.

Let's address the "no" part that fits with the transition. Human beings often assume that everything in their minds will be automatically understood, though the message may only contain and share a facet or two of the wholistic imagery, not the complete picture that exists in the communicator's mind (sender's). This is a big limitation to good communication and it happens all the time, every day. Is there a way to "fix" this shortcoming that will mitigate the frustrating fallout? Yes, there is.

A simple key can be employed here. All senders of messages must give enough details surrounding and supporting their messages (turning it to you personally now :) so the receiver can "see" what you "see." Like a painting...details are important. The great artists give a lot of attention to detail.

Hope this helps you with many good communication opportunities :).

Take care and be safe. ~jwa

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Form and Substance in Communication

Updated: 8.29.20

Do you know the difference between form and substance in communication?

"Form" means what something looks like, its external characteristics, its packaging. "Substance" means what it actually is, what’s inside. When it comes to human behavior, "form" is what we say we say and maybe mean and "substance" is what we do and what we are.

How often have you been in a meeting or simply visiting with a small group of people and you hear someone consume all the air in the room? That's form with little substance. On the other hand, you likely have been in the presence of someone who shared helpful thoughts and ideas. That's substance. You should now the difference and be able to spot it instantly. Life is better when we do.

All the best.~jwa

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