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

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

I like this quote; it brings a smile to my face each time I read it. I could not count the number of times I “thought” I had communicated something to someone and they didn’t get it. 10 years ago I would have blamed it on them, now I would blame it on me. Ultimately it is my fault if something I want to get across doesn’t.

Let me use my daughter for example: She is a typical teenager with ups and downs. We were talking the other day about truancy and how now that she is in high school it is something that is not a good thing. She nodded her head and said “Ok, I understand”. This made me stop and ask myself how when she normally has an opinion that in this case she didn’t. So I asked her if she knew what truancy meant. She said no and I laughed a little inside. I then explained what truancy meant and then I got the commentary.

How often in life do we take a head nod, a yes, an ok as meaning that someone understands what we are talking about and then later down the road we find out they didn’t? It is the responsibility of the person attempting to communicate something to validate that it has been communicated. Look for the signs that maybe they don’t understand’ the single word answers like yes and ok, the head nods, the lack of clarifying questions.

I have found that doing this has helped me become less frustrated and more patient with others. It has also had a great benefit of improving my communication style and delivery methods.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and clear communication with others (even teenagers).




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