The Impact of Our Communications

I saw this sign in a Tokyo subway station. I could totally relate to the message. It is customary for people to not talk on their cell phones in public, but texting and looking at their phones while walking and standing is still a problem. Everywhere you go in public places people of all ages are on the phone, staring at the screen. What I appreciate in this poster is that someone saw the need and communicated it very clearly. The Japanese express many ideas and concepts via cartoons. It is a playful and fun way to get across tough messages. It makes people think and spreads the word without being too confrontational. They are also getting ready for the 2020 summer olympics, so buldings, train stations, bridges and roads are all under construction. The hard work of communicating to the masses has already begun. 

One of the challenges of life is communicating your message so people understand. We get it , so we think that other people get it. We think we have expressed our idea and needs fully, only to be left in confusion or some wide array of emotions. We send emails or write what we think is a clear message, which assumes people read the message. If they don’t get it, we write another message. Or we send a different email to clear things up…which again assumes they read the email. 

Great communicators are the ones who figure out how to relay their message so the audience can understand it. Who cares if you get, you are the one sending the message – of course you get it. But does the other person understand your message enough to act on it? And act on it with confidence? Can they do what you want them to do or what they want to do with what you have communicated? How do you know if people understand the message? You could ask them!

Wait a minute, you mean you want me to talk to people? Can’t they read? I sent an email, a text, a slide deck or maybe even wrote them a letter…of course they get it. I sent all that and there is no way they do not get it. But they are still not doing what you want, suggested, told them to do…so what’s going wrong? Communicate with the audience in a way that they audience wants, not the way you want. If the message is important enough for you then deliver it in a way that the audience clearly understands what you are communicating. That may mean you have to do something different to get your point across, or soemthing that makes you uncomfortable. It may mean that you as the communicator need to change instead of only asking your audience to change. If the message is important, it is worth the effort.  

So what method will you employ today to get your point across? A poster? An email, or something in between? If your message is one that will change things, then employ every method possible. The results are worth it. 

What Do You See?

Depending upon where you sit, the view may change. If you are near a window you may see something like this. It was the view as I headed to Toronto. For those stuck in a space without windows, the time spent can seem to drag. This view provided me with clear skies and peaceful thoughts. 

I rode a train through Tokyo, and while looking out the window I experienced the layers upon layers of tight spaces. Tall buildings with twenty or more floors, laundry hanging out almost every window, and people rushing back and forth living their lives. I saw people packed onto trains rushing to get home, or to the store, or to their next appointment. The view from the train provided me with a quick view into how city dwellers live in Japan. 

I was on a boat crossing the English Channel and saw the white cliffs of Dover. They stood as a symbol of hope and freedom for those arriving on the continent. From the port hole I could see the waves of the sea, the sun shining on the water, and the promise of new adventures teasing me from the shore. 

I was driving home and stuck in traffic. From my window I would see frustrated people wanting to be anywhere but in this mess. The view from my window provided a brief glimpse into their world. Some drivers were clam, others were frustrated into a frenzy. Some were jamming out to music and others were talking on their phones. From my seat I could see everything. 

Depending upon the window, you can see anything and everything. The key is to not only look buy absorb what you are seeing. Too many times we are so wrapped up in what we are doing that we forget to see and keep the world in view. Of course we think it is all about us, yet in reality we are only passing by, glancing into someone else’s world.  

Here’s to the Dreamers and the Believers!

Later this month we are going to climb Mt Fuji, gulp! It is one of our son-in-law’s bucket list items. We have been planning and saving for the trip for over a year and soon we leave for the adventure. I would have always thought about doing it, but may never have acted unless we made him a promise. As their five year anniversary gift we are taking them to Japan. I asked if there was anything in particular he wanted to do while we were there, and he said climb Fujisan! So the adventure began. 

Some people told us we were crazy. Why climb? Isn’t there another way to see the top…some people asked? Don’t you think you are a little old to be climbing mountains? Are you going to be able to keep up? What happens if you get hurt? Hey why not just admire it from afar? All these same things ran through our heads, yet we made a promise and a commitment. Fear can preventyou  for doing anything. But our love for our children is stronger than fear…so soon we climb. 

There will always be people who tell you all the reasons why you can’t do something. There are people who feel the need to provide the practical things in case you were not aware. Then there are the people whose eyes fly wide open and gasp in delight! Fujisan, that’s amazing…tell me all about it. These are the people we want to be around. They are the dreamers and believers of this world. Being around these people uplifts your soul and reminds you that you can do anything if you really want to. 

Are there dangers in life, absolutely. Might we encounter challenges along the climb, probably. Will we get tired and crabby and be sore and want to quit, you can bet on it. What keeps me moving forward is the moment our son-in-law reaches the summit and gazes upon sunrise. One item off his bucket list…many more to go. 

The climb is always hard to reach your goal, always! If it were easy everyone would do it. So hang out with the dreamers and believers and set your course. You will never imgaine the things you will see and accomplish once you let go.