Communicating for Understanding

To communicate is not merely to speak, but to be heard, and, more so, to be understood.

Artwork by Ana

Often, we believe that simply by expressing ourselves that we are communicating. The problem is that communication is a two-way street. That which is expressed must actually be understood by the recipient in order for communication to have actually happened.

This means that, if we truly want to communicate, we must consider our audience and how they hear what we want to say. More is required of us than just talking or writing. We must be sensitive to the needs of the listener or reader, if we want that which we are trying to communicate to be comprehended in a useful, preferably actionable, way.

If we want to be heard and understood, we must become who the listener needs us to be. When we sense that our point is not getting across, we have to be willing to pause, reassess, and adjust our approach. In order to accomplish this, we must remain flexible, adaptable, and, most importantly, empathetic.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.

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