Communication: Learning by Doing
I love people and have worked with all sorts of them. With coca growers, entrepreneurs, bankers, stock farmers, freedom fighters, biologists, medical doctors, diplomats, professors, artists, officers, journalists, students, CEOs, athletes, teachers, social workers, and researchers from all over the world. And I didn’t only meet them in international settings, but I worked with them in their respective places. I organized and managed projects with them, attended conferences with them, taught and advised them, sat on the ground and chewed coca with them, fought for social justice with them. I cooked and ate with them, shared their stories and their sorrows, danced with them, and I laughed and cried with them.
Along the way, I observed how humans communicate. I observed and analyzed how language is used in speaking and writing, how it expresses thoughts and values, and how it evolves over time. I have given talks and interviews, I have written applications, uncountable reports and letters, a scientific book, I have edited two volumes and published several journal articles. I have interviewed dozens of people and went through peer-reviewing processes on either side. And I have written and revised texts for others on demand.
In other words, I have first-hand experience in a myriad of different communicative settings. And today, I look at these experiences from a scientific perspective. In essence, human communication is similar around the world. What differs are cultural conventions and individual skills.
So, what does this mean for me? It means that I know how to understand messages and how to put information into the right words.
Getting the Message across
This is how I see communication. Communication is neither theory nor just language skills. Communication is getting a message across. It is about humans interacting with humans in consideration of context. Knowing how to communicate is knowing how to pull the strings between human minds. And even when machines and Artificial Intelligence meddle in, I still recognize the human factor.
This is where “Anaphora”, the name, comes from. Anaphora refers to the connection between what has been said before and what is being said now, between language and context, between one piece of information and the other (Cambridge Dictionary). Machines do not fully master it while the human mind does. At the end of the day, the masters of communication are human.
My Expertise at Work
Whenever I look at a communicative act, I see it with all this background in mind. I understand the different viewpoints and linguistic challenges and know that people perceive the world differently. So, when the message or the channel poses problems, I can help.
I observe, I understand the message, I understand the addressee, and I know the rules of the channel, be it a speech, a written text, an interview, or digital communication. My experience in understanding communication and my willingness to help allow me to quickly put messages into precise words and explain what is going on.
Now, all this will be part of this Newsletter! I really look forward to it! I am planning on presenting great people, telling stories from different parts of the world, explaining communicative challenges most of us have come across, and showing how experience coupled with science can help us understand how humans communicate.