Fundamental Friday: Perfecting the art of communication

Thank God it’s Fundamental Friday. This weekly article will venture into the fundamental elements of a variety of aspects of our lives and present the question to us all, “Are we fundamental sound?”

Communication is the fundamental word for this Friday. Communication is an art practice by everyone, every day and all day long. The key to communication is being effective in relying your thoughts and intentions which requires us to listen, speak and listen to make sure we are being understood. Communication is defined as the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.

Successful is an important word in this definition. Successful communication should involve some type of acknowledgement or confirmation. In baseball, the batter generally steps out of the batter’s box and looks to the third base coach for signals one what the play is for the next pitch. Simultaneously, the runner is standing on the base looking at the third base coach for the same thing.

These communication efforts are essential for both the batter and any runners on base to be on one accord before each pitch. Both the batter and runner affirms receiving the sign with a special sign to the third base coach.

New York Mets shortstop, Jose Reyes, celebrates with teammate, Curtis Granderson, after hitting a two run homer in the top of the 7th inning and knocking Clayton Kershaw out of the game. Granderson had two home runs on the night. Kershaw gave up a career-high four home runs in Monday’s game. Photo by Astrud Reed for News4usonline

The technique for communication in this situation involves developing signs, indicators and practice to ensure the same message is being conveyed. The runner on base may be running to the next base on the pitch (stealing) while the batter puts the ball in play or at least swings the bat to protect the runner. This is called “Hit and Run” in baseball terms.

Then there is what is called the “Squeeze Play” in which the runner on third base steels home (runs on the pitch) to home base while the batter is responsible for bunting the ball. If this signal is miscommunicated, the batter could swing the bat which places the runner in danger of getting hit with the ball or the bat. Successful communication in this case is the difference between a run scored and an injured player.

This type of communication can be witnessed throughout various sporting events, in which the coach conveys (sharing) what plays and/or actions that players are to be executed. In some cases, verbal communication is used, such as in football when the receiver runs plays into the quarterback and the quarterback tells the players in the huddle what to do.

Similarly, this also occur when defensive coordinators uses signs similar to baseball to communicate to the defensive captain a play. In this case, the confirmation is usually seen or heard as the defensive captain yells out the play.

Los Angeles Chargers defenders gather around to tackle Buffalo Bills running bak LeSean McCoy on Sunday, Nov.19, 2017. Photo by Mark Hammond for News4usonline

Basketball also demonstrates a level of communication between the coach and point guard that is distributed to the other players on the court. In basketball, the actions is not paused which requires point guard to play close attention to the coach and the players to play close attention to the point guard. This quick interaction can cause degradation in transmitting the message properly.

The success of communicating effectively requires developing a method, understanding the method and using the method share ideas (plans) in the midst of environments that may be loud, noise and filled with other distraction.
Life, in particular, our jobs is no different. Most of us have supervisors or customers that tells us what the need is or what they want us to do. This communication typically is verbal, but does not always include a confirmation of understanding.

Body language in some cases is used to confirm receiving a message, but does not necessary mean the message is understood. The nodding of the head yes, is a classic example of affirming the receipt of message but does not indicate understanding the message.

Communication efforts can be further distorted by technology. Writing e-mails, texted and even leaving voice mail message are attempts to communicate with out the visual element that provides insight to if the message is heard and/or understood. Talking verbally in person or on the telephone has been replaced by e-mails, chatting and texting. In an effort to be expeditious, full sentences are not being used and replaced by abbreviations.

The USC Trojans’ men’s basketball team battled mightily against the No. 5 ranked Oregon Ducks at Galen Center on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. But the Ducks wound up prevailing with a 81-70 road, Pac-12 Conference win. Photo by Astrud Reed/

Unlike the baseball coach and players that practice signing to a perfection before a game, many abbreviated text messages words can have different interpretation. Typically, there is not an affirmed understanding of these electronic methods of communication, which leads to miscommunication seen clearly in constant misunderstanding.

God has given us one mouth to speak with and two ears to hear with. This suggests that we should be listening twice as much as we speak. The art of communication as evolved in technology but seemingly has lost its ability to successfully convey or share ideas do to the lack of understanding the fundamental element of communication. Fundamentally sound in communication indicates that the message is not only heard, but it is understood. To truly understand what someone is conveying to us, we must listen with an intent to understand, not debate or argue a specific point.

In the movie White Man Can’t Jump with Woody Harrison and Westley Snipes, there is a scene in which Snipes character insist that Harrison character does not hear Jimmy Hendrix. “You are listening to Jimmy, but you don’t hear Jimmy.” My question to us all is are we merely listening as we go throughout the day or can we actually hear what being conveyed to us throughout the day?

We must be careful not to let society, technology or any other outside force prevent us from carefully and purposely conveying our message and more importantly hearing the message that is being communicated to us. Somehow, someway we must get back to in-person communication that allows us to see and understand an individual’s body language.

We must maintain environments that allows the exchange of information to be effective by listening for understanding and speaking to be understood. Communication is a fundamental art that is getting lost in technology and being expeditious. Let’s slow down, get personal and perfect the art of communication so that we, our children and generation to come will be fundamentally sound in the area of communication.

Until next week, remember to ask yourself, “Are you fundamentally sound?”

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