All I Want for Christmas Is…

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XXI, Number 38 (Issue 1042) September 18, 2023

All I Want for Christmas Is…

Clarity! Few find it easy to overlook the things that waste our time (there is so little of it to go around). Nor do most of us feel good about wasting someone else’s time if it can be avoided. Yet the lack of clarity surrounding what we are to do, who needs it, when, why, and in what form often leads to confusion, false starts, and a less than optimum outcome. The culprit much of the time is either a bit of miscommunication or no communication at all. One can add to this list the communication that is designed and intended to mislead or obfuscate, but that is a very different topic – one best saved for another time. For now, let us focus on the unintended fails that so often give rise to problems.

For starters, know that much of the conflict we experience in our lives is the result of miscommunication. That which is not communication-based is value-based. As such, value-based conflict is next to impossible to resolve since it takes an immense amount of introspection and humility on one’s part to even contemplate renouncing a belief, long-held or otherwise. Also remember that verbal communication represents less than one-third of all our communication. Thus, to the extent we are challenged by verbal communication, one can only imagine how much miscommunication is caused by the non-verbal elements of our numerous interactions.

Sticking with this line of thought and reasoning, there are times when our miscommunications problems must be laid squarely at the feet of the sender. Other times, the fault lies primarily with the receiver. Again, barring someone acting out of ill-intent, the faults that occur are seldom of a deliberate nature. Needless to say, there are also those instances when all involved bear a measure of responsibility for the communication breakdown. Last but not least, our language and the medium we choose must also shoulder some of the blame at times.

All of this is to say the lack of clarity we so often experience is preventable if only we

  • Are more careful in the composition and delivery of our message
  • Will ask questions when there is a lack of clarity in the message
  • Will listen patiently and for understanding rather than obsess over the point we wish to make in reply
  • Take time to validate what our audience heard (how they interpreted what we said when the floor is ours)

I recognize doing these things well takes time – in the moment as well as in development. And who has time? However, is it wiser to take time on the front end to create the type of clarity that is needed and wanted, or do we roll the dice in the hope the message is sufficiently clear so that there are no misunderstandings likely to produce a bad outcome?

Remember, a rule of thumb for carpenters is measure twice, cut once. Something similar might be advisable for us in our efforts at communication if we wish to avoid having to repeat the task or settle for something that is less than what we wanted.

Soli Deo Gloria

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

J. Keith Hughey

Mobile: (210)260-0955
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Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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