Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Communication is the KEY to Life, I Swear

I have been forming this opinion now for the past few years and it is just starting to harden into a firm belief with a nice hard shell. The opinion is this:

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS...THE KEY TO LIFE.

Let me back up my thinking here because that is a mighty bold statement, right? You see, the word effective is crucial here. I did not say brutally honest. I did not say flowery. I did not say succinct. I did not say complimentary. I did not say brutal.

I said EFFECTIVE and that ain't easy. Oh no. Effective is tricky business.

By effective I mean the following:

~ Think about what you are trying to say. Ask yourself, "Self, what exactly am I trying to communicate?" Now hold onto your mouse here. Here's the mind blower...SAY IT.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and think about how it will affect the people you are saying it to. Will it rip someone's heart out? Then don't say it, dummy. For example, when your friend asks you if she looks fat in those jeans, after she's dieted for two weeks, giving up cake at lunch, and eating rabbit food - well, just tell her she looks great and to keep up all of her hard work. There is a gentle way to say most things. There are definite exceptions to this guideline. Like, when the brutal truth will help the person in the end. But, again, there is a way to lay your bomb. A way to soften the blow of honesty. You just have to think about it.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and be sure it is necessary. Mindless babble is beyond annoying. Most people I know don't have enough time in the day to get the stuff done that needs to be done and they don't have time to waste on mindless babble. Like stupid stuff that no one cares about. You know what I mean. You probably have a 'mindless babble' person in your life wasting your time as I type. Don't BE the mindless babble person. Really. Just don't. Life it too damn short for that junk - time is precious - time is precious. And that goes for dumb emails too (not funny emails - we all need to laugh coffee out of our noses at least once a week). Dumb emails count as mindless babble in my book. The truth hurts people.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and make sure you have been clear. Do the people you are trying to communicate with understand what you are trying to say? Are you sure about that? You really shouldn't assume that people understand you. There are a gazillion chances that they don't. How should you find out if they get you? Oh, I don't know, how about asking them? I know. Revolutionary. But seriously, effective communicators know for a fact that the human beings they are communicating with understand them. They check for clarification and then adjust their communicative ways...A LOT and OFTEN.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and say it with confidence. Speak clearly. Type clearly. Look people in the eye. Don't be rushed when you communicate. Mean what you say. And more importantly, say what you mean. Are you making sense? Be sure you know. If not, it smacks of mindless babble. We know how I feel about mindless babble and it isn't pretty.

Some things to consider:
- Would there be less relationship breakups if both partners communicated effectively? I think yes. Sorry if you are a divorce attorney. I mean no harm.
- Would there be less grounded and punished children if parents communicated effectively with their children? Parents really should be effectively teaching their children how to communicate. Ooooh. That's a deep one.
- Would there be less hostility among races, religions, sexes if we effectively communicated? Feel the love. Feel the love.
- Would war actually be 'something that ONLY happens in novels' if the humans in charge effectively communicated? My head is shaking up and down in a yes formation.

In closing, I advise spitting, and soon. I gave ya'll a lot to chew on (said while snapping fingers and tilting head).