Can You Be Clear And Connected At The Same Time?
I wonder if you've ever struggled to stay connected to someone as you were communicating something important to you? It often seems that connecting to someone is a distraction from our message, rather than the purpose for it. It's hard to stay clear about what we want to say when we also have to be clear about what someone else will hear in our words.
This is the central paradox of communication: for a message to be clear, the sender of that message must hold onto their own vision while connecting with someone else's. There's a benefit to this paradox. As we become less sure of what we want to say, we are more likely to engage in shared thinking. We come up with ideas together when we communicate in ways that are unclear enough to encourage participation.
As you struggle to be both clear and connected, think about this. If you had to sacrifice either clarity or connection, which would be most important? Giving up clarity makes room for collaboration. Giving up some measure of connection allows you to focus on giving clear expression to an idea you don't want to change in transmission. Knowing what you want allows you to make good choices about how much energy you put into getting your message exactly right or thoroughly understanding the motivations of your listener or reader.
Your default should probably be to say what you mean as clearly as possible. This doesn't always mean that others will connect to your message. It does mean that the one person who is most affected by your words will pick up a clear, strong signal. That person is you.