You’d think it would be pretty straightforward. If you speak the same language, you should be able to understand what the other person is saying, right?
You see, language is about words. Communication is about interpretation of those words.
And that’s where it gets tricky. Especially if those involved in the conversation make a living communicating.
I’ve never understood why that is exactly, but my experience has borne it out. When I worked for a major telecommunications company (read the major telecom manufacturer at the time), our phones never worked properly. Many of my journalism friends are terrible at keeping in touch because they can’t stand picking up the phone to make a call if they don’t have to (texting helps). And one writer I know refuses to send any personal correspondence because good as she is at it, she hates to write.
Of course, plenty of regular folks are bad communicators. I’ve found that marketing for children seems to be a category rife with miscommunication.
For example, I bought my daughter a set of Lego Duplo blocks the other day. At two, she’s big enough to reach just about anything at or below waist level but still little enough (or sadistic enough… I think that might be a genetic trait) to think it’s a good idea to shove tiny objects in her mouth and scare the living daylights out of her mom. So, paranoid mother that I am, I read age recommendation labels religiously.
What I’ve found is that Amazon pretty much figures if it’s smaller than a grapefruit, it should not be given to kids under three. Because no matter what the box says (“Ages 2-5, in the case of the Legos), the item will carry a big warning that says “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.” So, it’s only for children who are at least two but no younger than three? Ummm…
But where miscommunication might hurt the sales of the product a bit, but not the product itself, miscommunication in an industry dependent on words as its product is another story.
To that end, we’ll be hard at work updating our website in the coming weeks to make sure all of our information is current and accurate. We’ll be adding things, too.
So, please keep reading. We promise it will be a meaningful experience.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.