Friday, 11 November 2011

saying what you mean, meaning what you say

Sometimes it feels a bit like we could all stand to go back to basics with communication.

I've been working on my book edits today and have been astounded by the number of typos and misspellings I've made and - and this is the amazing bit - not been able to see. Luckily the copyeditor has fixed a whole lot of them - and yet I've found a few more. As well as the typos etc, I've been cleaning up the expression in some sentences which wind around and around and would be much more clear if they went straight through and made a point. Sure, decorative and creative and flair are lovely but not when they are at the expense of meaning.

Communication: a lost art, it seems. I've found myself in a few conversations today where the central discussion ends up being about communication, miscommunication, noncommunication and the like... 

We all do it all the time but often so inexpertly or so distractedly or so speedily that we end up being less efficient than if we'd slowed down, taked a deep breath, and phrased things carefully. Or perhaps it's unfair to say 'we' but certainly this is true of me...

It's good to be reminded that a paragraph I've checked and cleaned up and wriggled around and reworked and sharpened up many man times can still stand a bit more work... it makes me think carefully about flippant txts and emails that I send, and that are sent to me. So much can be lost - or, as my good mate Nadine says, email isn't good for conveying tone - and once it's lost the gains end up being negligible.

So, tomorrow I am going to sit down for an hour and reply some emails that are overdue, and I am going to try to give them enough time to actually communicate what I mean with clarity, detail and - where appropriate - a dash of flair, gentleness or wit:)

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