friday ‘finking | 5 rules to com-mu-ni-cate

Communicate much? 

In my short life of living here and there, working here and there, making friends here and there and speaking this or that language, it happened many times to a) not get it, b) not being got and c) make crazy mistakes assuming people really understand not only what I’m trying to say, but also why I say it.

So here are a few things I learned.

1. Say what you mean. Beating it around the bush won’t cut it- people get bored, they get annoyed, and you’ll for ever be the princess who can’t gather the balls to voice their opinion. If you’re like me, crazy in the head and wild in their beliefs, you can choose to not say all that you mean- but better to have a drop of concentrated truth than a sea of blablablahs.

2. Mean what you say. Euphemism, metaphors, epithets are all good if you’re not comfortable delivering a shot of you (straight-up, olives on the side) every time you open your mouth. Use them instead of serving bullshit.

3. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. Try to adapt your discourse to the person in front of you, to the language you’re speaking in, to the local culture. It’s nice to be yourself 100% of the time, but if you’re trying to make yourself understood get it in your head that your collocutor may not have the cognitive tools to process your output accurately. Not because they’re stupid (although it does happen) or because they’re unwilling (although that happens, too)- but because they simply don’t know what to do with you. Like an exotic food they don’t know how to pair with wine.

4. If you’re a Roman, you have it easy- be nice, and meet your conversation partner mid-way. You’re at home, you know the culture and you speak the language- you have all the tools to understand what the other may want to say. Yes, they may be speaking your mother tongue with the grace of a military boot, wrongly conjugating some verb, or moving their hands too much, or misplacing prepositions; yes, they may commit some abhorrent cultural no-nos; and yes, they may take too damn long trying to say something simple- but they’re on your turf, and you’re equipped with everything you need to get it. So roll up your sleeves, work your brain and be patient. Your tolerance and your willingness to get it, I assure you, will be appreciated.

5. Get over yourself. MemememememeIIIIIIIIMineIthinkIwantMyopinionmemememememeIIIII… is straight-up lame. Stop being so me- centric, get out of your zone of fluff and understand that people come from different backgrounds (as solid and as valid as yours) and that a conversation is NOT a series of balanced, equally-spaced, repeated monologues (I said what I had to say, now you can say what you have to say, then step and repeat- how boring is that?!). It’s ok to interrupt, as long as it’s done respectfully and adds to the communication- so don’t take it personally. It’s ok to pause- silence is f-i-n-e. It’s ok to talk over each other, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the purpose of the talk. If the common purpose is com-mu-ni-cate, anything goes.

In my head, a perfect talk looks like a tapestry- well-constructed, intricate, made of different colors and threads. And, if not useful, at least beautiful.

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