The Imperfection of Communication...And Some Exciting News
A few years ago, my husband was going to drop me off for an appointment while he ran an errand. I told him the office was in the same strip shopping center as the Firehouse. He drove straight to the correct intersection but turned into the shopping center across the street.
"Where are you going?" I said. "It's across the street, next to the Firehouse."
He gave me a strange look. "There's the firehouse." He pointed at the real firehouse. The one where firemen hang out until a fire. Me? I meant the Firehouse Deli across the street. Talk about a weird communication coincidence! I had forgotten that a fire station sat on the corner opposite of where I was going, so it never occurred to me to be more specific.
Of course, since I teach communication skills to business people all of the time, I was glad for the mishap. It gave me another example to use in training classes.
We communicate every waking moment, but we bring our own interpretations, expectations, and experiences to the conversation. I've seen this time and again. People think others aren't listening when in actuality, they are only interpreting something differently than the speaker meant.
My big news is related to this issue in a round-about way. I entered a flash fiction blog contest a few weeks back, and my entry generated a lot of responses that I didn't anticipate. Different readers found a variety of meanings in this short form of fiction, many of them poles apart from my original intent. Rather than worry over their different ideas, I embraced the interpretations. What writer doesn't want people to find their own personal meaning in what you write?
Anyway, for my exciting news. Out of 384 entries, I won 3rd place! I'm pretty psyched and I have to thank Rachael Harrie for organizing the whole thing. Please click on her name and check out her blog and all of the amazing winners and prizes. Please follow the links to the participants and give them their congrats, too.
And if you want to read my winning story, click here . I'd love to know how you interpret it!