Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

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At the risk of sounding like a politician, let me be clear

My stare can scare people.

My stare at least can make people wonder if I'm mad when I'm not, and that can be off-putting for them. *I* can be off-putting. I need to be honest about that.

Plenty of times I'm also not clear enough, especially when I talk. Words said too fast, some sentences too complicated and hard to follow, maybe words slurred together, sometimes a stammer -- even my six years of elementary and junior-high school speech therapy don't always prevent that. (I had trouble pronouncing my "R"s as a kid. People in Virginia thought I was from New England or, in some cases, England.)

Even sometimes my written words aren't clear enough. Revision is good for me; I'm a messy writer. I still remember a time in 2002 at my call center Fraud Department job, when I'd left notes in a caller's account, and by the way, there was no way to edit those notes -- you just had to add more if you'd forgotten something. A co-worker, not unkindly, told me she'd given up reading my notes because they were too long and she couldn't follow them.

But it's clear enough to me! a part of me wanted to say. Right. Not good enough. Be as clear as you can, or you might as well be the trombone making the sounds of adutls talking in Peanuts.

Since I get a certain amount of satisfaction when I explain something well, and admire great explainers like Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, I need to see what keeps me from explaining -- or just communicating in general -- well enough. I think about this a lot. Because more satisfaction? A good thing! I can always do better. I can always project a more welcoming front. And stare less. And speak less. And make each word count.

If I'm not clear, feel free to ask. I'll do my best to be open to that...and not to get frustrated with that.

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