In the past year, communication has changed. We have learned how to interact virtually. Screens have replaced face-to-face conversations. This has been a blessing, and at the same time so much is lost in this type of interaction. I was reminded of an experience I had several years ago and how important communication is.
We sat in a circle on the floor of my office. My daughter, her three sons, an 8-year-old and twin 5-year-olds, my 10-year-old granddaughter, and me. In an effort to slow down the running, romping, and squealing that usually occurs after dinner at my home I decided to introduce the Telephone Game.
I explained the rules-
To begin the first person in our circle would whisper a word or phrase into the ear of the person sitting next to them. They would listen and turn to whisper it to the person next to them and so on around the circle. The last player would then say the word or phrase out loud so everyone could hear.
They thought this was simple enough and as each whisper passed from mouth to ear the certainty of what they were saying beamed on their faces. It wasn’t until the first round had been completed and the initial
“Gracie the dog is cute and furry” morphed into,
“Gracie is a hog that eats in a hurry.”
Then the laughter exploded and they understood why this game was fun. Only one word from the original message had been communicated correctly.
In a perfect world, every message would be relayed to the receiver with accurate precision. They would understand the full meaning as the speaker expected. The speaker would be confident that their message was heard with the correct intention.
This is not the way communication works.
I have this line I say almost daily,
"It’s All Communication.”
Everything in life comes back to communication.
We are born as communicators, crying and squealing as we take our first breath. We learn to understand the meaning of words, facial expressions, and emotions. We mimic them to be accepted and to gain what we desire. We learn how to use our voice and body to verbally and non-verbally communicate happiness, joy, love, and fear.
With age we learn to hide our true feelings and muffle our emotions. Communication begins taking over in streams filling our mailboxes, inboxes, and lives. The overwhelming amount of information becomes blurred as it layers in our minds. We try to decipher what is true and what is gossip and repeat what we believe we heard. We repeat second or third-hand stories that become skewed in the retelling.
Communication becomes complicated. And so, begins the grown-up version of the Telephone Game. Listening, repeating, listening, repeating.
We assume what we say is understood by the person we communicate with.
Many times it is not.
We assume we hear information correctly.
Many times we don’t.
We assume what we hear is true.
Many times it isn’t.
Communication, the lack of communication or misunderstood communication is the cause of all of life’s problems. Fights, divorce, anger, hatred, battles – big and small all come back to communication.
How different would the world be if we asked the person we were communicating with if they understood what we said?
How different would the world be if we repeated back to the speaker what we believe we heard and asked for validation that we were receiving the message correctly?
How different would the world be if we communicated honesty, trust, respect, and kindness?
How different would the world be if we didn’t repeat distorted gossip, half-truths, and rumors?
How different would the world be if the whispers at the beginning of the game were repeated in the exact way it was intended creating a complete circle of accurate truthful understanding?
Words have power.
It’s all communication!
Pennie’s Life Lesson: “It’s ALL Communication!”
Pennie Heart to Heart
IT'S ALL COMMUNICATION
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