Posted by spoc on May 11, 2004, at 11:03:59
In reply to » spoc, posted by 64bowtie on May 10, 2004, at 15:36:51
Ooops, another clarification, as I was making my tally I hadn’t see this thread yet:
“Racer, et al..”
> I'm like a "broken record" or a "bad penny". If you dig through the archives, I continue to repeat my message inside different syntax, because people have asked me to say it differently since they can't understand what I am trying to say. How would you do it? Please tell me. >
*** You are committed to growth and self-improvement, so maybe it would be a good idea for you to consult some kind of communications professional on where you could better convey your message? Because if that's what is most important to you I do think you have a lot to work with there, in adjusting your phrasing and tone. Maybe you could print a lot of your posts and take them to the consultation, making sure the context of this place is known, or even having the consultant spend some time browsing the site first.
And I assume you are keeping it in mind that the demographic probably typically targeted by life coaches and motivational speakers may not include genuine psychiatric problems. They may not wish to or find it advisable to tread there, which is why other industries requiring much specialization exist. Which, yes! I realize are all parts of what you are hypothesizing is being done *backwards* to begin with! I note it only because a lot of any communication problems you are concerned about may be due to the fact that going into a population like this, "your mileage can be expected to vary greatly!" But to achieve what you want to achieve, that has to be accounted for.
But for now, ok, you asked me. I assume that means you are permitting me latitude here and inviting me to speak freely. Inviting one person’s opinion on why your message doesn’t always get to where you’d hoped, if indeed it doesn't, as you state. So in an attempt to fulfill that, following is what I personally – NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ANYONE OR EVERYONE ELSE HERE – think could be factors; and as requested, what I personally would do differently. When I ask people to be frank with me about something I am doing, implicit in that is my preparedness to hear some things I may not like. That is the spirit in which this was taken and addressed, so I hope I don’t "get in trouble!"
Clarity: People seem to conclude that maybe the message is over their heads, and it's a shame for them to underestimate themselves that way, because I don't think that is what is at the root of it. When you compose your messages, are you truly phrasing them only with the intent of making the principle clear to the widest audience; or are you liking the way it sounds -- to you? (This may also tie into how it may be perceived if someone posts the same message in six locations.) Maybe you are hoping that both are being accomplished at the same time, but if they aren't, it's the kind of thing you are saying you want to be aware of.
The "word package" in which a message will be most widely interesting and comprehensible to others may be quite different than the "word package" in which you like to receive your information yourself. But as it relates to your purposes and your career, you are probably the one who is going to need to take the hit! Perhaps you are modeling the style(s) of other speakers/writers whom you admire, but until a person is quite established as someone who is coming across effectively, they probably can't be sure that they are applying that style accurately themselves.
And in the case that some people really aren’t able to dig out the true message, you may be expressing things that in reality would elicit very strong opinions if they were instead just stated flat-out. That may be an attempt towards tactfulness, but it may instead sometimes be heard as burying a possibly disturbing implication in layers of words. They may kind of avoid it because there is some sense that all the cards are not on the table, and they are being tweaked somehow. So maybe it would be more effective to just be very straightforward in making your points, even if likely to meet strong reactions at times. Kind of like how people often say what put them off from being willing to try a certain med was that the doctor packaged things in a way designed only to elicit compliance, even if the client doesn't actually know what is going on. But suspects something is going on, and so withholds good faith. (An analogy only, I realize psy meds are part of what you advise against!)
Tone: I myself hear condescension in it, and even if a subtext of your message is that that is necessary, when people can detect it, they don't listen or they may even be likely to dismiss it/rail against it where otherwise they may have been open to it. Despite the intellectualized "word package," I personally also hear patronization. As in when we are addressing someone we have already determined must, for one reason or another, be handled with kid gloves and techniques. Including the technique of pretending to be pondering and working through something together; when in reality the conclusion was very much already foregone, and is seen as righteous by the deliverer. As in -- yes -- adult to child. Which again may be an underlying theme, but you don't want people to be able to detect it.
And if you are indeed still trying to work through some things yourself here, that would mean you want to have two-way dialogues with fellow adults, being fully prepared to be the one who at times learns and adjusts his stance. But is that what you are doing? If not; and people can tell that the principles are not open for *true* discussion and debate; they may not want to participate.
My reason for posting clarifications as to where all of your similar threads in this batch could be located was that you were initiating a potentially heated subject, given this population: That bad things may have happened to us as children, and we chose to get stuck at bellyaching over them, and then perpetuate the misery if not violence on others including children, and therefore we remain ourselves children. That is actually not a novel theory of how dysfunction works, and awareness of it hasn't changed the world yet, even if it should have. Perhaps that's another reason why I hear patronization -- platitudes often feel that way. And myself, I would be less likely to hear anything that at its core predetermines who I am and what is going on in my case, and all other cases. I would be more open to things that at least don't *sound as if* they have me and my history and my family all figured out, sight unseen. And that if I disagree it will only be a reflection on my ability to comprehend, or to face reality. Those things are tricky!
And, kind of a side bar, I wonder if it is really possible to circumvent all consideration of "feelings" here, as you advocate. People have to feel something first about what is being said in order to listen to it, and in general they have to feel something in order to want to change or realize they should change. For example, if someone is very cynical, telling them to grow up and dismiss the attitude will only fall on deaf ears that do not care about anything yet, including their part in things. And when you talk about stopping the perpetuation of coercion and possibly violence, those are actually likely to be some of the main folks you want to reach, and seem to be choosing to try to reach.
Likewise with reaching people who may actually be “holding onto their pain.” If they already feel nothing and may be about ready to check out entirely – or have even concluded that it would be better for everyone if they did just check out – you do need to make them feel something and allow them to process some things with their feelings, to get through to them. Rationalizations and intellectualizations aren’t going to work for someone who at this time truly does not believe improvement is possible anymore. There is no "...or else!" factor to be applied to someone who has given up. And you can feed all that right back into the very purpose of your theories, but it may still be unlikely to get in and create that spark of interest and change that you seek to ignite and build on. At the least, my guess would be that there are certain demographics that couldn't be impacted within your 10 day package, but you may have already taken that into consideration.
But please forget I said that, too much room to take it in all directions when I only mean to address your question about how to convey the message, and wrap it up (I spend way too much time on the Internet and need to stop. On that *I* am a broken record!). So, moving along, I tried to corral the locations of your threads because whether time-worn principles or not, presenting them here could still stir controversy. Many say that there certain types of things that they won’t get involved in in the first place, but for those who may have chosen to participate, I thought it most equitable and beneficial to a cohesive discussion that they be able to read and reference all other responses on that same subject.
If people took the time to reply to a passionate issue, they may be dismayed to later see that the same thing -- or someone else's thoughts that would have been useful to them in building their response -- was posted elsewhere simultaneously. If you were conducting a seminar in which a key aspect was going to be discussion and feedback, you would probably address everyone at once rather than take individual people or segments off into other rooms, and never bring them all back together; to hear each other -- and allow you to hear any consensus that might be helpful to you, but that got diluted by the wide distribution.
Rod, I hope this is the kind of thing you wanted. I hope I haven't stepped out of line with anything here, I truly didn’t mean to. In the field of motivation and coaching in particular, I can see where a practitioner might be especially interested in hearing all suggestions on increasing clarity, and removing any *unintended* messages. And, I do represent one of the "mentalities" you'd want to reach; so I am at the same time no one to comment yet the perfect person to comment!
On the other hand, some of the kind of things I'm saying haven't been addressed previously, so maybe this isn’t what you wanted after all, but asking made me think it was. I assume an occupational hazard here is that you are working with people who usually do NOT already have it right! I am well aware myself that I mess some things up in writing and come across in ways other than those I mean to, and dilute my own points by taking too long to make them, that’s for sure!
Anyway, good luck to you. And me! (But yes yes, I know it's not about luck....!) ;- )