Sunday, December 28, 2008

Right Response 12/28/08

Love and trust in the space between what's said and what's heard in our life can make all the difference in the world.

Fred Rogers

When I was studying my craft I had to take up the issue of speech and found it much more complicated than I at first thought.

Writing is tricky because the writer has to carefully choose the right words so as not to be misunderstood.

As an actor I was responsible for speaking the playwright's carefully chosen words.

But in conversation we choose our own words, and we have to do it so that we are not misunderstood. Every word exists in time and has certain qualities of which we are usually not aware. It's a sound that has an attack, a timbre, a duration, a stress, a finish and a relationship to the words around it. Those are a set of dynamics that apply to every spoken word and they will determine what the word conveys and how it will be interpreted. Think of how many different ways you can say "I want to go with you."

Then there's a statement made up of words. That goes through at least 5 stages: intention, invention, articulation, reception, interpretation. And all of that takes place, at lightning speed, before the person you're talking to responds, In other words, you have a thought, you decide how you're going to express that thought, you speak it, a person hears it and then interprets what you said according to their own mental and emotional state. That sounds like a very complicated procedure just to say "Good morning" and it is. But in most conversation it all takes place automatically and unconsciously. It's when we have something we feel is important to say like "I want to go with you." that we become more aware of the process. Or at least we should.

Think how much trouble, perhaps even wars, might have been prevented if someone had been more careful about how he said something, or, as Fred Rogers suggests, someone would have been willing to interpret what was said to him in a kindlier manner.

DB Vagabond Journeys


Dannelle said...

I loved Mr. Rogers- Love and trusting, Dannelle

a corgi said...

so true DB! Words have such an impact on our lives and yet people just toss them here and there not realizing the lasting impact they have on people, both positively and negatively; another great post!


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

One of my life lessons is to ignore the delivery and listen to the message. It can eliminate a lot of frustration.

Beth said...

Communication is so tricky. Email, phone calls, and letters are convenient, but they can never make up for face-to-face communication, with all the subtleties of body languange.


Joyce said...

In this world of instant messaging and emailing, it never ceases to amaze me that anyone understands anything. I've oftem written something and when I read the response I scratch my head as to how they interpreted what I said. I know you have encountered the same thing in your writing. I think face to face on via telephone is best. AND, I loved Mr. Rogers too.
Hugs, Joyce

Breezy said...

I have a hard time getting my words right whether writing or face to face conversation. It is so easy to be misunderstood, or people to take sarcasm as rudeness. I want to try to be more careful in the way I present my thoughts especially in writing. I so admire many writers and how they can be so descriptive in a way you can feel exactly what they feel.