Meeting Media: Personal Miscommunication


The handshake and personal greeting is still one of the most powerful forms of media today. More meaningful than an email or e-card, the personal face-to-face contact that you can’t replace can be a valuable asset and an often misunderstood one. In the social landscape, finding that person waving or gesturing to you can be difficult…especially when you’re accompanying/entertaining your own friends, family or personal posse.

Slights and perceived shutdowns are often misunderstood. I’ve experienced these events on two notable occasions, both innocent oversights on my part. I got to personally hear their perception on the latter occasion. “We waved, but you didn’t wave back”. Don’t think about the other person’s situation, just let them know your “offense”. I didn’t bother explaining “Oh, I didn’t see you” because of the icy reaction I got from other “posse” members and jettisoned any grudges, which they’ve held in the past anyway, but it got me thinking…I didn’t do anything really wrong except not communicate to them they way they wanted. I waved when I did see them but it didn’t matter because the offended/begrudging members ignored me, which is how I knew to approach the most understanding member. In the workplace, you have to learn to communicate in ways that please other people even when it’s unfair to you. Yes these forceful folks may not keep in contact with you, even during some of their biggest life changing events, but they can always change when you keep your communication line open.

It’s a reflection on how one way personal communication has become. Like the receiver has to pay homage to “The Godfather” sender and there’s no consideration the other way. It’s easy to feel as offended as them, but that shuts all the communication down in a negative way. Be an adult. Seek understanding and say your side, then be done with it. It’s hard to treat each situation the same, but that openness instead becoming closed off to people so you can do and get what you want.

People, I included, can be so focused on themselves on times and perceive face-to-face or personal communication in a negative way when nothing could be further from their perceptions. This communication, especially in the workplace, is often misconstrued. Many times the perceived offenders aren’t even thinking about the offended, much less looking at them. Media can make us distracted sure, but many times, people don’t notice everything that’s happening around them.

How to remedy this situation? Just listen with your eyes more. Be more open. Wave to that person even if they may not be waving to you specifically. Make an automatic reflex. You may make someone’s day. Don’t take personal offense to misunderstandings and even social ostracization, in most situation, it’s a personal problem they have, not you. Other solution recommendations work very well too. Just find your way and communication paths can expand all over your life.

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