THE BLOG

Stop Squiggling

Well I think I finally have figured it out; It's taken years. My mind races with thoughts, ideas and all kinds of amazing but it just gets lost somewhere between the electrical impulse in my brain and my finger tips. I have been typing since about 6th or 7th grade and. in spite of classes, knuckled rulers and lots and lots of practice; the words in my head just don't come out in any recognizable language from my keyboard.

Now Microsoft and web developers are always quick to help. We get these spiffy little squiggles when they "think" that they know what I am talking about. Just click right on the wiggle and violin, um er viola, it's corrected. Or maybe not so much. The problem is that spell check "thinks" it's smarter than me and happily changes each word into what it "thinks" I meant. And almost as much as it is write, um er right, it is wrong. When I spell and grammar check my riting, um er, writing, it seems to have a lovely way of changing my meaning. I guess I should be glad that my brain is smarter than my fingers and Microsoft.

We think our thoughts and words are always the right ones. We are hard-wired and the stuff just spills out. For the brilliant amazing amazing things flow eloquently. Except many of them have speech writers. The rest of us, well, it just blurts out. Right or wrong - there it is. No amount of squiggly lines can make something unsaid once it is said. I make most of my miss steaks when I am going too fast.

So what's a follow, um er, fellow to do? Just blurt it out and let the listener sort it out? Been there; dun dat, um er, done that. Maybe not so much. Removing your foot from your mouth or your head from your... is major surgery. Newspapers issue corrections all the time... on the back of page 37 under the Depends advertisement. It doesn't work for them either.

Good editing is the key. I am blessed to have an amazing one, Julie Clayton, that takes the time to figure out what I am trying to say and helps me get it on the page. For the rest of us, we too have access to the same editor. If we engage the mind to slow down the brain, the words will come out right - or better anyway.

The key is to think of the listener, not the author. If the listener doesn't get "it," the communication isn't communication. It's just words. Look at the keys and the squiggles before we open our mouth. For difficult messages, take the time to practice them in your head. Get the right words in-line with your tongue. Yes, we all have a filter - find and use yours. And lastly, try to be kind. There is no need to use a sledge-hammer if only a gentle nudge will do it. Kindness always wins.

Use all the tools that you have to communicate effectively. If you take the time to think before you speak, you will squiggle a lot less.