Start at the beginning…

Let’s start by honoring a guy who knew how to communicate in a clear, direct and entertaining way — in such a way that you can still recite to this day: “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.” Of course those are the immortal words of Dr. Suess’s 1968 book Horton Hatches the Egg, a book that still teaches responsibility and integrity 40 years later.

But it was the part about saying what you mean and meaning what you say that always captured my imagination. How often do we see THAT happen? I know a guy who says that 80 percent of the time, we leave a conversation either misunderstanding the other person or being misunderstood by them. We can’t affort a statistic like that. We can’t afford to be missing connections that often.

So that’s why I’m here. Despite being a professional communicator for more than 10 years, I learn something new about it every single day. I want to share what I’m learning, and I hope you’ll share too. Maybe if we’re all talking about it… practicing!… we can get better at this together.

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4 Responses to Start at the beginning…

  1. ragingdad says:

    Horton Hatches the Egg is the superior Horton book, by far. That darn Lazy Mazy…

  2. natalie says:

    I’m new at this too! I hope this is the way to blog. Who is this guy with this statistic and is it published or personal opinion?

  3. soulmagnet75 says:

    Natalie, the guy with this statistic is an HR exec I work with often. I just dropped him a note to find out more. If he shares his source with me, I’ll definitely post it.

  4. soulmagnet75 says:

    I don’t know if this is good blogger protocol, but here’s the answer I got from my friend and co-worker about that stat:

    “I do not remember the source, as it was many years ago. It was stated by a communications expert in the context of leadership/management. I will try to find the source in some of my files at PSU. The name John Wallen comes to mind, but he may not be the person.

    “Another way to look at this 80% rule is to consider it as an assumption, in order to encourage the use of multiple methods of communication. We tend to tell people once and expect them to “get it.” The reality is we need to say it, show it, write it, model it, etc. to ensure clarity. I believe we rely way too much on oral and written communication, when we could do more.

    Sorry to have gotten you into a pickle, but I do believe (based on experience and observation) the 80% rule applies much, if not most, of the time. Want to discuss more? Let me know, and we’ll get some time together.”

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