Posts Tagged ‘meaning’

The story of OK…

Monday, July 20th, 2015

I wonder if, like me, you have ever wondered what the word OK actually means and where it comes from?  Or whether you ever tried to find the answer to these questions…?  I never succeeded until now and as a little favour to other lovers of words, here is the story of Ok.

As a little aside, isn’t interesting how we use this word as social lubrication and how often people use it to mean the very opposite.  We have all been there when we asked someone “What’s the matter?” and got the response “I’m okay…” when it was patently clear that they weren’t.  However, what we do with this insight is a dependent on all sorts of things like how much time do we have, where are we, what is our relationship with the person, what we are trying to achieve and many other issues.  This simple phrase allows us to hide or escape under the guise of coping when we are struggling, or ignore this in another if we feel unable or disinclined to help.

Two little letters that have a versatility and utility that even transcends English and works almost anywhere.


Communication across the divide

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I was listening to a radio program based on a book “Far from the Tree” about deaf culture.  It was a phrase that gave me pause; it had never occurred to me that deaf people might have a separate and unique culture.  I listened on and learnt about the nuance of meaning the deaf could convey with a gesture akin to the way we use tonality and the penny dropped.  In the same way as each language enables particular subtleties in meaning in particular areas, so the deaf are able to convey shades of meaning to each other that we can not.  They experience the world differently and share those experiences via a different medium… of course they have their own culture.

This got me thinking that in the same way that there is a gulf between hearing and non-hearing communication, there are subtle gaps between each of us.  We all use words which carry uniquely different weights and resonances for each of us; expressions can trigger a variety of emotions depending on our culture and upbringing.  We gloss over all this in the haste of our daily lives but these micro-failures of communication happen all the time, even with those we love.

If it is important, then take the time not just to say what you want, but also to test what they have heard and how they understand that.

Communications.. it’s all about the context!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Here is a little tale:-

Wife texts husband on a cold winter’s morning:
“Windows frozen.”
Husband texts back:
“Pour some lukewarm water over them.”
Wife texts back 5 mins later:
“Computer completely f*cked now.”

Now this conversation may or may not have really happened but it makes the point very well that communication is all about context, and the meaning we take from a piece of communication depends on what is going on around us and what our concerns are.  What seems clear and obvious to one party might not be so clear to the recipient.  If what you are saying is important take a moment to consider your audience and their situation before you fire off a quick email that might cost you hours of work!

It’s all a matter of interpretation

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Sitting in a Costa Coffee in an anonymous Surrey mall nursing a half-finished  coffee, watching a parade of young mums pushing buggies in and out and I was aware of feeling suddenly sad.  At another time, I might have felt something very different.  I realised that there was nothing in what was happening that was intrinsically emotionally charged, it was just the places it took me to that triggered these responses.  This generally true too, most things,   are emotionally neutral but can trigger powerful emotional responses. 

This is something we need to remember when working with Change; sometimes we get unexpected responses to what is said or suggested and this can be because of the listener’s own internal wiring has added a very different flavour & meaning to our content.  It is a fundamental facet of communication that meaning is something overlaid onto content.

So, if you get an unexpected response to your message, it’s time to explore and listen and to avoid making assumptions and judgements (which is the usual response!)

“The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”   NLP Precept

Code keys & Communication

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Today I got round to setting up security on our home network (at long last!)  Theoretically easy but fiddly when you are dealing with 3 operating systems and multiple machines and wifi cards.  I had to try multiple combinations before I found a setting that worked reasonably on them all.  For those of you who are even less technical than me it works by sharing a code key between the router and the computers. This allows them to unscramble the meaning of the data they are exchanging.

It seemed to me that in groups of people there are similar exchanges whereby you need the key to really understand what is being said.  We sometimes use this system to exclude strangers, kids do it to parents all the time!  The trouble is that where as PCs know that they don’t have the right key and tell you, people just nod and allow you to carry on transmitting in the hope they will unscramble your meaning.  You leave thinking that you have just communicated with them, but they are are far less clear.I often find that this kind of scrambled communication is at the root of many of the problems I deal with.

So if it is important, take the time to make sure that they received the message that you think you transmitted….

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”    George Bernard Shaw

I believe pt 2

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

I believe that we all have a purpose, or perhaps, more accurately, a raft of purposes designed to take us where we are meant to go.  A few lucky people seem to always have been in touch with theirs, for others it unfolds gradually, culminating in something like an “AhHa” moment.  Some of our purpose is fulfilled in how we live our lives, the rest is made up of what we do.

I guess the $64,000 question is “Is what you do, and how you do it aligned with yours?”

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”  Peter Drucker

“But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for.”  Paulo Coelho

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”  Robert Byrne