Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Communication as Tic-Tac-Toe

Why do we approach communication, and the teaching and study of it as a tic-tac-toe match rather than positively?

A quotation from an online course in professional communication that I am assigned to teach this summer:

"When you are in the workplace, you will communicate and interact with many people with a variety of personality traits and cultural differences.  Being able to work together well will help you succeed in workplace projects and teams, and understanding your customers will ensure that you don't alienate them!"

 Too often I have heard or read this type of thing, and probably said it myself years ago.  It is really a faulty view of communication and teaching communication, that is, the main reason we study it is "to do no harm." 

When I was a kid playing tic-tac-toe, my only strategy was to keep the other person from getting three across, but never to get three across myself.  Therefore, my games ended in "ties" if you want to call them that.  

Communication is about so much more; it is about advancement of ideas.  It is also a multi-faceted behavior.  I am developing what I call a "personal communication audit" for use with my students.  It needs work, but it includes statements such as "I talk to other people with my cell phone in my hand" and "I help people end their sentences." I use it for students as a pre- and post-test in a class I teach. 

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