Communication and how it fails us

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THE courts and their legalese confuse us. Their terms, definitions, parallels, precedents and, worst of all, court summons overwhelm. If we misunderstand court directives, we suffer the consequences. Imagine vague criminal charges that exclude us from information what would clarify what’s really going on. Combine that with the lawyers we are forced to depend on who don’t share their appreciation of facts.

Maybe legal communications are difficult and hazy because confusion is the goal. That is not good. In the marketing and advertising world, communications are clear. Extraordinary funds are expended to generate clarity in the target market. A confusing message, long or short, kills the effort.

So why do the courts purposely confuse those charged with complaints or those overwhelmed by their procedures? Our laws also confuse, sprinkled with our legislators’ “clarifications” and amendments. Only lawyers can decipher meaning and pass that on to us mere mortals. The result is conflict between the executive and legislative departments, requiring arbitration by the Supreme Court.

Why are we the people, supposedly served by these august institutions, subjected to this confusion? Legalese has created a demand for specialized services. In the end, we pay for those services but remain confused.


Media is another way to muddle issues, where subjectivity and biases (interest groups) distort facts. News requires objectivity with no commentaries unless they are identified as such. Our media is a cause for concern, with conflicting data being reported by multiple broadcast and print networks. Astute business people and politicians maintain control and audit communications by employing professional PR agencies to track news delivery. The purpose is to ensure the consistent broadcast of the message.

Our interpersonal everyday communication can cause conflict as well.

Many do not listen but merely wait to talk, holding firm to certain ideas stuck in their minds. Some accept directives without understanding them. Just the other day an assistant left to carry out a directive, only to return eight hours later to ask what he was supposed to do. Does this result from ignorance, faulty education or culture?

Communications must be clear from the start, whether in our everyday lives, our business concerns or our politics. We must understand discussion results, our directives and the information we receive. We don’t want to be hampered by distortions that confuse the course of our decision making, do we?

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