Communication is vital for life. An obvious statement, I know. But when you think about it, communication, more importantly effective communication, is something we often take for granted. The majority of us learn to talk and communicate at an early age. We know how to say what we want, identify things we like, show disdain for things we don’t like. It seems so simple when you think about it but really, it’s so much more than that. It allows us to be who we are. It gives us an identity. It is how we want people to perceive us – by the thoughts and ideas we communicate with each other.
In college, when I went back for round two, I majored in English (big surprise there) with a concentration in Writing, Communication, and Rhetoric. I loved words, I loved writing. It made sense that I would gravitate toward that concentration. However, while there were some classes that really just were going through the motions (sorry – but Business Communications and Technical Writing were almost the same class – at least Tech Writing started off that way and it was probably because of the professor who taught it…), there were other classes that really examined language and how it’s used and how to effectively communicate with the masses.
In those classes, finding a voice was imperative. Without a voice, how could you communicate? My Advanced Writing class, which was really my one true Rhetoric class, was where we learned to write effective persuasive essays, straw man essays, and Aristotelian arguments using Logos and Pathos. It was by far one of my most favorite classes ever. Combine that with a professor who was one to say “I never give anyone an A,” and I was set to take that class and make it my life’s mission to get that ‘A’ he never gave.
That class was so interesting in the sense that in order to have an effective argument, it was important that you were very clear in what you were saying so there could be no misunderstanding. It taught me to get to the point and support the point clearly. It taught me to use one word rather than ten to get there. I could dig it up, but probably my most favorite argument was the one where I argued that Seinfeld was the greatest sitcom ever created. I don’t remember the exact reasons I gave, but I remember getting an A on that paper and in the end I got an A for the semester (which also gave me a sense of pride because it was awarded by a self-proclaimed “I never give As” professor).
Had I not learned how to effectively communicate and make sure that I was understood, I doubt my arguments would have been as strong as they were. I took a lot from that class because many of the lessons applied to every aspect of life. In order to have any relationship in life, you must effectively and clearly communicate and be understood. If you can clearly communicate, then you can be understood. Being able to be understood means that people are able to know me. They can understand my opinions and if they are able to communicate back, I can understand theirs.
Today, I have heard a lot of people say things like “Our country is pregnant with change,” or “We are living in a very historical time” and at the same time, we hear the candidates gearing up for Presidential campaigns. Everything is so politically charged and at times, it’s overwhelming. I can’t help but think that if people knew how to effectively communicate and have a discussion – not digging your heels in and shouting at each other trying to drown the other opinion out but a genuine conversation – we might better understand our friends and neighbors who hold a different opinion. We would understand what was being said. That’s the beauty of humanity. We have the ability to communicate and through that communication we are able to be understood. It really is an amazing thing to be understood.
This blog is part of my month long attempt (number fiftefoursixthteenth or something around that) at participating in NaBloPoMo. Check out other great bloggers who are working on hitting this 31 days of blogging goal and join in yourself if you want! The more the merrier! This month’s theme: Connect. Today’s Prompt: Do people generally understand what you’re trying to say?