From my balcony, this cold winter morning, I see a squirrel rummaging the icy branches of the pine-tree; then, he moves to the cold, bare branches of a nearby nut tree, where there is nothing left...
I sympathise with the little one. I throw him a handful of good nuts to feed him ...for the day; but this stupid little animal flees, he does not understand my act of sympathy.
My good intention is not enough; I must find a way to make the creature understand... If you want to communicante with a squirrel you must speak squirrel; with birds you need to know the langage of the birds.
There is more. If you want to do things with words, spoken or written, you also need to know the difference in aim between expression and communication; the former is to give you voice, the second to get across and change something in other people.
Expression is your right of free speech, all it needs is to feel – to you – true enough to what you desire to manifest; quite different from this, communication a tool for obtaining a result – it is up to your public to validate whether or not your present makes sense and use to them. Confusing such different things is quite naive.
This seems elementary; however I observe that except some rare professionals who write books, give speeches and teach courses, a majority of educated people write letters, stand up to speak, or engage in what they believe to be dialogue, by simply spurting out propositions, exclamations, desires and feelings, their views, at best raw data.
It does not seem to occur to all these good people that we must clothe what we want to say in forms they, our addressees, are drawn attentive to and also capable and ready to understand and accept. There is a belief that words can flow out and have effect as they come to mind.
To rise from expression to communication ask yourself for heaven's sake why you talk, what you need to happen and what exactly will produce that change you intend in the person spoken to. Next, to come across you cannot spare a moment of empathy, to imagine that you were them and feel what would move you in their stead. If I were a squirrel, what signs would make sense to me? What makes me fear, like things thrown at me, and what attracts me?
To communicate, you must tune to the same wave-length with your fellow man; for this you use words you and your public understand in the same way.
To be and keep in touch while you advance the course of an argument you also need to keep in synchrony, as dolphins jump in accord. If you cannot walk in the street, side by side with someone, without cutting into the other's trajectory - and that requires the subtle care to keep in your mind a constant representation of where their next step will be - how could you hope to be heard and understood and followed? To communicate you must care for other people.
Yes, of course, you know this; but honest, do you do it?
Do you ask yourself as you are about to talk, write or show "Why do I do this? Who are they, what do they want what will they understand and accept? How will they react?”