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What We’ve Got Here, is Failure to Communicate

May 16, 2011

 “Communication is everything.” We’ve heard this so many times before, and have witnessed it on all levels large and small. If you work in a corporate office (or any kind of work environment, for that matter,) chances are you experience miscommunication on a daily basis. Emails and text messages are perfect examples of just how important communication is, and why it’s so easy to misinterpret what someone is trying to say. So many things can be misunderstood in an email or text, partly because you cannot read tone of voice, emphasis, or any kind of warmth or feeling, and partly because we are encouraged to communicate like robots to be careful we don’t offend anyone or misspeak.

Even outside the workplace, some of our biggest problems in life occur from simple miscommunications. A fight can break out between two perfect strangers; a relationship that has gone on for years can be compromised; wars can erupt between countries – oftentimes, it is lack of communication that sparks all of these instances. Isn’t it ironic, considering we have countless ways to communicate with each other? Sometimes it seems that the more methods of communication we create, the worse off we are. It makes me wonder if maybe we should take a step back every once in a while and simplify how we communicate. While we sit at our computers, or go about our day-to-day lives, with all of our tools, big words, and fancy ideas, we should take a minute to think about the world that is going on around us that many of us don’t even notice. Maybe we can take a cue from nature. Take, for instance, this little interaction below:

I hope you enjoyed this rare and never-before-seen footage of mine and Greg’s first date the mating call of the bird of paradise. But seriously. Watching this video made me think of how simple and meaningful this interaction was. We overcomplicate things, overanalyze, and spend our energy reading into things. Shouldn’t things be easier? These creatures are doing just fine, communicating in their own ways, and getting what they need from one another. And, thanks to the creators of Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth, who were able to capture this amazing footage, we can observe and take a lesson from them.

While we cannot solve all the big problems in the world, what we can do is pay attention to how we communicate with others within our own little circles. Can’t we just say what we mean, mean what we say, and be flat out honest? People are always afraid of honesty, because they are worried others may take offense to what is said. Again, this boils down to communication. If you are saying something truthfully, and conveying your message without being malicious or confrontational, more often than not the message will be well received and respected.

So, when it comes to communication, let’s be bird brains. Let’s keep it simple. Be direct. Be warm. Spread good things. And if you’re not happy with what someone dishes out to you, don’t sit there and let them keep dancing like a moron, or worse, get in there and start dancing with them. Instead, just fly away.

*Other interesting ways animals communicate:

According to Cornell Lab of Anthology’s “All About Birds” section: “a male  American Robin sings cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up to defend territories and attract mates. He sings a whisper song, hisselly-hisselly, during flights and courtship, and the female sings a soft chirp note to attract his attention. The parents utter spirited chuck calls when alarmed by predators. Both sexes communicate in flocks during winter with a series of chee notes. Robins also make a high-pitched thin, whining whistle reminiscent of Cedar Waxwings. The call probably helps mates stay in contact with one another or with their young.” Take that, Twitter.

*Prairie Dogs communicate through barking. “Specifically, most prairie dog barking communicates information about imminent threats like hawks, dogs and even humans, and gets as detailed as the size and shape of the potential predators. Even more interesting, prairie dogs from different areas have their own dialects.”

*”Through rumbles that are below human hearing, elephants are able to communicate with distant elephants for various purposes, including coordinating group behaviors, luring mates, reproducing and establishing dominance.”

For more information on how animals communicate, check these links out:

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4567653_ants-communicate.html

http://www.dailypuppy.com/articles/how-do-seals-communicate/d89116ad-dfa2-5dcd-209c-b00e4bf521ce

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4565986_tigers-communicate.html

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