If motive or intent led to actualized and realized perception, we would never miscommunicate. But they don't. So we do. Miscommunicate, that is. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter what you MEANT to say or what you THOUGHT you said. What matters is what people HEAR! What's going to count is what the sponge actually absorbs. And this doesn't just apply to those of us who speak to or communicate with a crowd or the masses. If you're married, this is you! If you lead someone - even just one person - you're in the game. And so for those of us who rely on reducing what gets lost in translation to a microscopic minimum, we have to figure out a way to decipher what is actually getting through. We have to find a path where what we're trying to say begins to parallel what it is we're actually communicating.
One way of reducing the discrepancies is to ASK. Look the person in the face and ask them, "I know what I intended to say here, but what did you understand me saying?" And it may sound juvenile, but it can be life-saving in the long run to even request, "Could you repeat it back to me?" When I look at my 6-year old son, bend down, and say in that loud-talking parent voice, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M TELLING YOU?" and he looks back and says, "Uh huh", I haven't finished the job. I know this because most of the times he tells me he understands, he proves not long after this that he really didn't. What I need to say is, "If you understand what I'm asking you to do, explain it to me. What are the consequences if this doesn't happen?" Engage. Ask. Connect.
As a pastor, if I'm not looking for evidence that what's being taught is actually being absorbed, embraced, and lived out, I'm not really shepherding the people God has placed under my care. I'm just barking at them. If we don't search for honest, untainted, objective feedback from those we're attempting to communicate with, we'll go on potentially sounding more and more like white noise. And if the message is as important as we say and believe it is, we better spend a bit more time weighing the method.
Here this: There is a distinct possibility that regardless of your intent or motive in what you're saying and why you're saying it, all the other person may be hearing is "Blah blah blah blah blah"!
QUESTION 1: HOW are you communicating these days?
QUESTION 2: HOW do you know?