Ok, so perhaps today’s title is more of a nod to the romantic lyrics of country singer, Alison Krauss than being the be-all, end-all truth of communication. Still, with some slight re-wording, the statement can become an important point: If you can’t say it best, then say nothing at all. Perhaps that seems extreme, but consider the alternative. When people don’t take the time to communicate clearly and concisely, the result is often muddled, vague, shoddily pieced-together ideas. Why shouldn’t we maintain high standards when it comes to communicating?
Indeed, communication trends (written and oral) come and go. If we assume that they develop with the changing needs of a given society, then why is it that poor communication habits still exist? The cynic in me thinks that despite everyone’s desire to be understood and to understand others, people either get lazy or are fearful of being held accountable for what they say and write. I read this funny article that speaks to this idea of inexplicably poor communication trends.
Besides the usual culprits (I’m looking at you, politicians), have you ever experienced a moment when someone you knew (or you!) said something without actually communicating anything at all? Confusing sentence structure is just one communication crime that one can commit. A worse one, I would argue, is incorrectly interchanging words a la Mrs. Malaprop. Sure it’s a comical tool, but in real life, it can be maddeningly frustrating when you are trying to understand someone.
Today’s tip: next time you have something to say, think. before. you. speak. And make sure you know what you are trying to say!