Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's A Building Game

It is my belief that parents are the first and best teachers a child can have. Even if the parents aren't ready to be parents, the children will still learn whatever the parents are teaching. The children know only "that's the way its done and I can do that." You can guess that I think in order for parents to build excellent people they 1) prepare themselves for the never ending task of parenting, 2) they must work together put together the healthiest human they can and 3) then they must give that human the basic building blocks for excellence.

Public or private schools are primarily there to aid the parents through expertise and remediation to build the best possible human being.

You can predict then that if I were king I would insist that every person that had as a goal parenting they mus demonstrate that they have taken excellent care of themselves mentally, physically and spiritually in preparation for the huge task ahead of them.

We often can slow things down and choose our words with care, but there is almost nothing we can do with our actions. What we tend to forget is, "Do as I say and not as I do," merely points out the futility of hiding behind such things as "I never once told them that they could or should do that." When in fact, they already knew before we had the opportunity to use words they had seen how it is really done by the folk in charge.

This whole process deserves a great deal of time and attention. Few of us are apparently allowing for the time and we're too busy to focus on the problem.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Opportunity

We have a great opportunity to watch some of the most skilled communicators on the planet attempt to reach their goals through communication. In short, we have two political parties trying to find a way to get their candidate elected in November. From one point of view, the USA and the world has a great deal at stake.

From another point of view, we can learn from these experts more about human communication and we'll have the opportunity to see which methods contributed to the success of these candidates. We all need to take the time to learn. That provides us with increased capabilities when it comes to communication and it provides us with a valuable process whereby we can protect ourselves from folk who attempt to use communication for self advancement at our expense.

When watching/listening/reading ask yourself some questions. 1. Why is this person saying what they are saying to me at this time? 2. Who do they apparently think I am? 3. Are they providing useful, important and tested evidence to support their positions? 4. If there is going to be a benefit to their conclusions, who are those that benefit the most?

Ask yourself these questions in addition. 1. Why am I paying attention to this communication source? 2. Do I want support for what I believe to be true or do I want to know what the best solution currently is? 3. Since the issues are apparently very important to what extent am I willing to evaluate the communications and determine along with what I learn and know what course of action(s) is appropriate?

If we do little or nothing we will become what we all say we dislike: sheep led to slaughter. If we act responsibly it may help to reshape the future of our country, the world and maybe most importantly, our lives. We will become harder to fool or mislead, because we have developed some patterns that protect us from those who would control us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


When you get close to some things you may no longer be able see them for what they are or were. Noise is one of those things. Noise is anything we don't value or appreciate or it can be much more important and demand our attention. Noise that demands our attention is what the concept I'm talking about.

Noise is anything that affects the fidelity of messages. Noise comes in many forms. If you were around me quite a bit you would discover that I have a tendency to begin talking about things that are perfectly clear to me, but since you haven't been inside my head, you haven't a clue as to what I'm thinking or saying. There is no context for you and you don't know what to do with the words.

So you ask, "What on earth are you talking about?"

Slightly irritated, I respond, "What do you think? I was talking about the current political campaign." From my egocentric point of view, you knew what I was thinking and now you're pretending not to follow my thought. That is an example of noise. When you assume that the ideas you have in your head are clearly represented by the ideas in the other person(s) head and you expect them to be able to understand what on earth you are talking about. Noise: anything that affects the fidelity of the message.

Another example of noise: "Please slow down. Your accent is making it hard for me to follow what you are saying. By the time I figure out what you have said, you're already off and running in a different direction." Accents can make oral communication a problem.

Another example: you and I are sitting in a cafe where everybody seems to be talking at the top of their voices, laughing and the jukebox is turned up way too loud. We came into the cafe for coffee and conversation. Now we realize that the noise level is so high we can't hear each other talking. So, we grab our coffees and head out to some more quite spot to talk.

Another example: I'm an actor in a play and I was forced to put my costume on before getting to the theater for rehearsal. My outfit makes me look like I haven't eaten enough for months, I haven't had a bath or shaved for an equally long time and I'm asking for directions to the theater. One quick look from you and you realize that you have nothing to say to me that I will understand or appreciate. So you just walk on by. The noise of my appearance is so loud that you won't really hear what I'm saying with my words, only what I'm saying with my costume.

Noise can be a lot of things, and they are all important to the fidelity of the message. We all need to spend a lot more time thinking about noise and how we need to control it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Communicating Is Important

We all have been told that our skills in communication are basic to earning a living, who you associate with and the success you have with friends, spouse and children. Communicating is important. One of the areas many of us hope that we never have to face is the need for successful communication before a "really large group of people that may or may not like us."

We all know more and think about more often, the weaknesses we have. As long as I'm quiet people have to guess what those weaknesses are. But, if I stand before an audience and speak right out loud, our fear is that everybody will know about our weaknesses.

One of the important aspects of learning is the discovery of multiple ways to approach situations. If by focusing on communication we can discover multiple ways to approach communication situations, we're going to be ahead of the game. We will discover that you may not "win" all the time. But, you don't have to "lose" all the time either. You are not powerless even though you may never be powerful.

Since the only way we can direct changes that will happen in our lives, no longer relying on luck, is through communication, it is extremely important that at some level we think about, practice, learn skills that will tilt the future in the proper direction.

There are many places where we can and should learn about communications.
1. Observe others
2. Try alternative methods
3. Read books, magazines and periodicals that are about communications
4. Take courses at educational institutions or offered by competent professionals

Some really good and others not nearly so good can be watched and listened to in the privacy of our own office or in the library and even on your smart phone. Two of these are: FORA.tv, "the world is thinking, and, now, you can always be a part of it;" and TED.com, "ideas worth spreading." There are many others, but these would make an excellent starting point.

Keep in mind that learning doesn't always begin with agreement. Be honest to yourself and others, keep your mind as open as possible and never stop looking for a better way.