Friday, July 23, 2010

Principles of Communication

Introduction

In the last month, I’ve bothered a lot of people with things that I’ve said. As a result, I’ve thought a lot about what it is that we say and do that bothers people and I’ve tried to refine my understanding of the principles that should govern communication. I hope that they are as useful to my readers as they have been and will be to me. This is not an explanation of things that I do perfectly. It is an explanation of the ideals I strive to live.

These principles are applicable in all communication, but are particularly important when the messages we send are uncomfortable or unwelcome. It is easy to avoid offending people when we’re telling them how much we appreciate them or that they did something well, but easy to offend when we’re correcting, teaching, or disagreeing. It is in these “negative” communications that we are most tempted to violate these principles. However, they are as applicable in difficult situations as in easy ones.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The search for truth

I don’t think it’s always clear to people that when I express my opinion, it’s not always because I’m positive that I’m right and I’m trying to convince everyone else to think like I do. There are certainly times that it seems to me that I’ve found an element of truth that most people don’t seem to have grasped and I try to share it with them. But even in those moments, I often find that my discovery is incomplete and that there is more to learn in that specific area. I believe that the discovery of truth is far more important than my ego, so I appreciate correction. There are times when I fail to be gracious about being corrected and I ask my friends to forgive me for those lapses.

I frequently express my opinion in my blog posts and usually do it emphatically. When I do so, I argue for truth as I understand it. However, I recognize that I do not fully understand the truth. As such, I enthusiastically welcome others’ opinions. I would love to hear from people who agree and from people who disagree. I also welcome explanations to accompany opinions (why do you agree or disagree with me?), because it is frequently in the explanation of why that we find more truth.

I'm going to begin a flurry of posts in the next couple of days, if all goes according to plan. It would please me greatly to see intelligent debate about my ideas. So, gentle reader, please respond after you read.