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Do you believe everything you hear and read these days?
Should people believe everything you say and write?
Do we take the time to check facts, study reality, watch for the impact of communication?
What IS fake news?
Somehow it seems that recent modes of communication create new complications – kind of like “computers will save paper”? Whether walking, shopping, eating, or waiting, I observe people totally absorbed in communicating with someone not in sight, ignoring whomever is present as well as the environment. This causes at least a couple of emotions – a) I’m not important; b) people are rude and uncaring; c) I’m missing out on something. Tune in to radio, TV, newspaper, or social media and realize that interpretation is a very personal thing. Do I “hear” only what agrees with my own beliefs or do I look for different points of view?
“Communication” is supposed to be an exchange of information between a sender and a receiver. Successful exchange of information occurs when each party is aware of their role and is an active participant. Purpose of the communication should be understood by the involved parties (personal, business, informative, instructive, directive, confidential, private, public, official, – or gossip?). Each of us should accept the challenge to understand the reason for current communication and to cooperate to reach an acceptable completion of the transaction.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in communicating with a wide variety of individuals and groups in a variety of roles. As a communicator, I’ve played the role of child and parent, subordinate and supervisor, student and instructor, corrected and correcting, regulated and regulator, skeptic and convincer. Communication has taken place in my home, at work, in familiar and in strange settings, with people similar to me and some very different from me. Working with persons who use English as a Second Language (ESL) requires special attentiveness. Sometimes I’ve been prepared for the exchange and sometimes not. I still blush at some of the painful communication failures (usually caused by my assumptions regarding the other party), and I smile remembering the good feelings of successfully connecting to share information.
Particular lessons I’ve learned over the years:
- Remember that listening (reading/observing) is at least 50% of communication.
- Communication is influenced by ethnicity, life experience, education, color, beliefs, dress, surroundings, attitude/posture, tone of voice, and other attributes of each party.
- It’s almost impossible to be too well-prepared for “important” communication.
- Count to 10 (or more) before making harsh or super-critical responsive statements.
- Eye contact and touch may or may not be appropriate.
- Documentation of business and sensitive personal communication can prove to be very important.
- Social media has changed nearly everything about communication.
- Civility is desired by most of us.
- “Truth” can have different meanings for the parties involved in the communication.
- Be comfortable in your own skin. YOU have a right to be understood and to understand; however, the other party in the communication does NOT have to agree with you and also has a right to be understood and to understand!
- Successful communication usually requires more than a couple of minutes.
About the Author
Joan Bachman is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Registered Health Information Technician, and Faith Community Nurse. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Joan has experience as a Nurse, Administrator, Developer, Trainer, Grant Writer, and served as Administrator of SD State Survey Agency. She has consulted with health care facilities and nonprofit organizations and presented leadership training. Joan is the author of Guidebook for Assisted Living Facilities and Senior Service Providers and Guidebook for Physician Services in the Nursing Facility, and she has published in professional journals.
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