Communication and Alienation

Effective communication doesn’t come easy. There are a few important factors:

  • What you say
  • Who you say it to
  • How you say it
  • How they receive it

For effective communication, all factors must align. The speaker must understand the hearer so that ideas can be communicated.

When these factors aren’t aligned, well-intentioned words can have a detrimental effect. Well-intentioned, but poorly spoken words can alienate the people you seek to serve. At first, misaligned messaging may be passed over. However, over time people begin to check out. They ignore, unsubscribe, unfollow, or leave.

We don’t have to alienate people from our cause unnecessarily. Take time to consider who you are speaking to and how the message will be received.

Example: Making People the Problem

A major cause of alienation is making people the problem.

In this situation, there’s an issue that should be addressed. Perhaps folks are doing something harmful to themselves or others. But they don’t realize it. We must separate the problem from the audience. Consider the following examples:

  • “People are causing so much mess; they do “x,” “y,” and “z.”
  • “Folks, here’s the issue. Now let’s work together to make it right.”

The audience is not the issue. The issue is the issue. Deal with the problem with as much grace as possible.

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