The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 8 – Effective Communication
March 22, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What makes an effective communication?
Rick Rosner: Before as a kid, before that was even a thing, I’ve had many awkward years and they haven’t entirely gone away though I’ve been a TV writer which requires effective communication skills.
You have to pitch your joke sometimes. You have to pitch your ideas. You are interacting with people who being in entertainment are really good at communicating or socially fluid. I worked in bars for 25 years and met 3/4 of a million people.
I’m decent at communicating and interacting with people though given my history as somebody who’s been awkward and who can still be awkward; I’m often aware on an interaction by interaction basis of the shortcomings of the communication I’m having with people.
Bars are a tough place to communicate because they’re dark, noisy, and people are drunk. Back in the era when bars were where people hooked up, the noise and everybody’s understanding that community.
The fuzzing out of communication due to drunkenness and noise gave people kind of opportunities to interact with people where they didn’t have to be so precise and they didn’t have to come across as effectively or as well as they would have in full daylight in a quiet setting.
One reason bars exist is to lower the bar for interaction, so people who suck at interaction have a chance of hooking up. But working in bars, I used to kind of rate interactions with people, see if I could get in and out of an interaction with somebody without it being weird.
It was somebody says, “Hey,” you say, “Hey,” somebody makes a comment about something and you nod even though you can’t hear exactly what they said and you hope that agreeing with them is appropriate because you didn’t really hear what they said.
It usually is the right thing to do and then you can end the interaction. You’ve gotten away with a really noisy, fuzzy interaction where the communication was bad, but you’ve done it. You were lucky enough and experienced enough to get out of the conversation without it being weird even though the communication was all screwed up.
Then I was thinking about how we’ve got a whole new realm of interaction where it’s not easy to communicate with complete clarity and it’s the whole family of interactions online or on your phone via typed messages and what people like and what people will tolerate.
Well, for one thing people, people will tolerate all sorts of spelling and grammatical errors because everybody understands that it was just kind of typing as fast as they can often while doing something else and as long as the gist of the message gets through people don’t mind when the message is full of typos unless you are disagreeing with somebody.
Unless, you are communicating with somebody you are politically opposed to on Twitter or in the comments section after a news article online. Then the typos show that the people you are communicating with are idiots.
So, there’s toleration of lack of precision and clarity as long as you agree with the people you are communicating with. I just want to talk about one of the most delightful people on Twitter; Chrissy Teigen who shows how as long as you are a beloved person people will embrace a communication that lacks perfect clarity.
Chrissy Teigen is, well she’s a bunch of stuff; she started off as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, and became a Twitter personality, and a TV host. She’s really funny on Twitter. I think that’s how she first became noticed as a person that you want to have as a guest or a host on your show.
She’s just really fun and really human and people love her and for good reason, because she just comes across as very human on Twitter. She tweeted a lot about food, which made people love her because most swimsuit models can’t eat very much and they don’t talk much about food and she obsesses about food and cooks a lot and that made people love her.
When your beloved you can talk about things from your life, right now, she’s been talking, I think, less about food lately and more about that she’s got married and she’s having kids now and she can tweet about stuff going on in her life and not every comment has to have 100% clarity because it just feels good to be let in on her thoughts, even if they’re not entirely clear to you.
You can see that with other people, my two twitter heroes; the people that I looked at on Twitter and decided that I wanted to make it serious at like becoming Twitter famous, based on Kelly Oxford and Rob Delaney who are tweeters and bloggers and writers.
Rob’s a stand up comedian and an actor and much of what Rob Delaney tweets is jokey nonsense, where it’s funny even if it’s not entirely clear what the meaning is or even if the meaning is clear and what he’s describing is nonsense.
So, I guess the takeaway from all this is if people have a human feeling about you, if they feel that they kind of understand you as a person; they will enjoy communication from you and with you even if it’s not entirely clear.
I guess another way of putting it is as long as you have a brand, people will consume that brand and having a brand means that people understand who you are. Its kind of a gross mercantile way to talk about it as a brand, but the nicer way of talking about it is that if people know you enough.
They understand you as a human and they can appreciate you as somebody who’s having human experiences even if you are famous. And it’s a lovely thing when it happens.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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