“Do I Say What I Mean to Say?” – Your Communication Tip of the Day, from Neko Case


Of all the blog posts I have written on communication and speaking issues, this is the one that is most important (in my opinion): 2 Ways to Guarantee a Failed Presentation.  In it, I write simply that communication success requires two elements (from Aristotle):

Invention: invention involves finding something to say.  HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY!
Delivery: Delivery concerns itself with how something is said.  SAY IT VERY WELL!

Because, after all is said and done, communication boils down to creating a compelling message, and having it received successfully. That means you have something to say, and you say it so well that your audience listens (gets, understands) your message. And then, after they “receive” your message, it is up to them to act on it, and put it into practice.

Neko Case and Carl Newman
Neko Case and Carl Newman

I thought of the first half of this formula today while listening to an interesting segment on NPR’s Morning Edition. It was about writing popular songs. The segment was Carl Newman And Neko Case On What Makes a Pop Song Work. Here’s an excerpt (a little “earthy”):

Case and Newman describe songwriting and production more as “song editing.” You go through the material again and again, refining your effort to connect with another human being.
“Did I say to my audience what I meant to say?” Case says. “If I was them, are they hearing the way I meant it to be said? You have to push the idea past the point of it being comfortable for you. You gotta squirm around. You gotta get pissed. You gotta break a plate on the floor, leave the house for a while, come back, stand around in your underwear, work on it while you’re supposed to be going to work.”

Confession time: I have no idea who Neko Case is. (She is part of the band The New Pornographers. Nope, I don’t know the band either). I’m not sure I would have read this article if I had seen it in print. That’s what I love about NPR – they surprise me. This was worth hearing!

This sounds like wise communication insight to me. Getting a message right is work; hard work; sometimes, exasperating work. But communication is part – a major part — of what make us human. Getting communication right is worth every effort.

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