The first method of communication to discuss is Create and Wait. I’ve listed this one first because, in some ways, it would appear to be the least complicated and should have the least opportunity to lose your good in. While this may be largely true, the pitfalls are deep.
The most important things to keep in mind when communicating through any mode are the who, the why and the how. I realize this differs from the “5 W’s” rule. When communicating with this mode, remembering who you are communicating with is important. But even more important than the content is the “why” and the “how”.
The pitfalls with Create and Wait are not necessarily new, since it’s really one of the older modes of communication.
- Subtlety: Unless you’re a novelist, pulling off subtlety in this mode can be difficult. Failed attempts at implication, innuendo or other subtle approaches abound. Why is this a pitfall? Because it’s ripe for misunderstanding. And it’s even more ripe if you’re writing for lots of people, all with different perspectives on the topic and varying degrees of relationship to you. And once there is a misunderstanding, all kinds of good can get lost in trying to straighten things out. In fact, if the issue is big enough it may never get straightened out. So, Rule #1: Avoid subtlety until you know your audience and they know you.
- Brevity: It’s related to subtlety – using as few words as possible to deliver your message is always best. Too many words can cause your message to be lost – definitely not a way to have your good shine through. Rule #2: Less words, more meaning. And yes, I’m still working on it.
- Readability: A sure way to lose your good is to talk, or in this case write, down to people. No one likes it when a writer tries to prove their point by using unnecessarily complex sentences or words. It’s to darn hard to follow, and tends to violate Rule #2. So, Rule #3: Write so your audience can follow, not so you can feel superior.
- Lack of Response: The biggest issue, in my opinion, can be the feelings that a lack of response can create. I think this is where content creators can most lose their good. Lack of response can drive one to start changing messages, delivery modes, or even their position on a controversial topic – all to get a response and a perception of acceptance. Hundreds of readers “clicks” may result in only a handful of responses. Rule #4: Don’t let the lack of response drive you to change your message. That’s the fastest way to losing your good.
For your good ideas, good intentions and truest self to come through, your communication has to be clear. With this mode, more than the others, it has to be clear the first time. My advice? Write to help others and view the messages from their perspective. With those two intentions and the four rules above, you should be well on your way to letting your good shine through in your writing.
As always, comments are welcome. But I’m not going to stress about it; see Rule #4.
One of the many places that I think we lose sight of our good is in our communications with others. This is especially true now, as the number of channels we use for communications have increased so dramatically. Each of those channels has challenges, and some make our communications more difficult than others. The insidious issue hiding behind them all though, is that I believe we rarely pay enough attention when communicating. This hides our good from the others we’re communicating with, and often times from ourselves.
With all the modes of communication available to us, I’ve tried to group them into a manageable handful. Let’s consider them as follows:
- Create and Wait: One person creates content to be consumed by another or by a group, and those individuals or groups respond. Create and Wait is one person at a time, in that the first person creates and waits. If others respond, they then wait. It is not limited to newspapers or magazines or letters via the postal service, but would include email, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, podcasts, etc. If one person creates it and then waits, it’s Create and Wait.
- Create and Create: One or more people create content to be consumed by others, with a reasonable expectation of a near real-time response. Because of that expectation, Create and Create has to be digital. Chatrooms, text message, and apps like Kik or WhatsApp fall into this category.
- Remote Exchange: Two or more people exchanging content at the same time, with a tacit agreement that there will be a response in real-time. Old school, this would be the telephone. New school, this would be Skype or FaceTime as examples.
- Local Exchange: This is the same as Remote Exchange, but with no digital device – it’s actually with someone. Like, in the same room.
The posts that will follow will by my take on the differences in each of these communication modes, and how each one can potentially sidetrack us from allowing our Good to come through. Then I’ll add one more post covering how to work through those sidetracks and stay Good.
I realize some of these lines will blur. You might, for example, argue that a Create and Create like Kik should really be Remote Exchange. I drew the line where I did because once you cross into either Remote Exchange or Local Exchange, you know with almost 100% certainty that the other party or parties are still there when you start the exchange. With Kik, it’s possible that the other party or parties have dropped and you’re not aware. We can bat this around if you want, below…
When I think about the good things I’ve buried over the past number of years, one of the key reasons that I think I’ve buried them is because I was afraid. I think this is a pretty common reason for us to misplace our good. It can be fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of letting others down, or fear of success. However you review it, fear can be something terrible. And yet at the same time, fear is something that can help us. When our fear manifests as something like “I can’t do this”, or “I’ll fail if I try”, then I think it is fear acting as a barometer. It’s telling us that we’re on to something, and daring us to push forward.
When we’ve taken the time to figure out what it is we truly want to do and step out in that direction, there will undoubtedly be times when we will question our direction. We will question your resolve. And if we don’t ask those questions, others will. It is at these times, in the face of fear, that we must recommit ourselves to our vision. I’m sure he experienced more fear than most of us ever will, but as Nelson Mandela said:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
When we face our fear, we are facing the uncertainties that we have within us and the collective uncertainties that others have put out for us to deal with. Taping into our vision, we are able to conquer these fears because we know that we are on the path.
Since I’m in a quoting mood, and I’ve been on a music kick lately – from Rush’s “Face Up”:
If I could only reach that dial inside, and turn it up!
Face up. Face up, or you can only back down.