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Goal of Communication is to Get What You Want
Communication is about getting what you want When I go to a restaurant and I give the waiter my order, I am communicating that I want the waiter to tell the Cook to make something and when it is ready to bring it to me.  I communicate to get food. Getting what you want is […]

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Ira Gorelick

First Published

July 7, 2019

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Communication is about getting what you want

When I go to a restaurant and I give the waiter my order, I am communicating that I want the waiter to tell the Cook to make something and when it is ready to bring it to me.  I communicate to get food.
Getting what you want is one of the key functions of communication.
Those that communicate better are more successful at getting what they want.  (This is because they’re better at getting good information, but that is a different lesson.)
I was watching a history show the other night and it talked about how George Washington labored getting supplies to Valley Forge.  The show said that Washington applied himself to “a vigorous letter-writing campaign to the get supplies for his beleaguered troops.”  And it got me thinking about the possibility that one of the things that made Washington great was that he was a great communicator.  His ability to get people to send supplies based purely on his letters speaks volumes to his ability to communicate. I imagine other historic leaders like Alexander the Great, Anthony and Cleopatra, & Napoleon all struggled with communication.  But, I also imagine that they were all great at communication.  I suspect great communication skills are what always sets the great leaders apart from their peers.  I suspect the great leaders are better communicators than those around them.  While they still struggle, it’s just they’re relatively better than their contemporaries.
Good Communication helps you get what you want.  Poor Communication hurts your efforts to get what you want. (If one does get what they want with poor communication, I predict it is either fortuitous or short-lived.)
Of course, other things contribute to getting what you want.  Having the right resources and skills will contribute to getting what you want.   Being in the right place at the right time will contribute to getting what you want.
Clearly, communication is not the only thing you need to get what you want.  If you live in a farming community and there’s a drought, the problem is water, not communication.  If you live in the Caribbean and there’s a hurricane coming, the problem is wind and rain, not communication.  Nevertheless, good communication between the members of the farming community could help the community find ways to survive the drought.  And good communication as a hurricane approaches could help the community deal with the wind and rain.