Saturday, June 2, 2018

Watch Out for Imperfection!

The last thing any of us need is to be reminded we are not perfect. Perhaps if there is one truism with which we all agree, it is that. In fact, how often almost daily do we all remind each other when a mistake occurs, "Hey, nobody's perfect." Got it. Despite that, however, this is not an excuse for any of us to kick-back and not try to do and be the best we can do and be. Sometimes our lack of perfection can be very costly. This is why we should not take our mistakes lightly. This is especially true in acts of communication where words and meaning matter a great deal. There can be serious ramifications.

Just last month, the federal government committed a costly communication error that nearly triggered military action in the Middle East. It revolved around the dispute over Iran and allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear capabilities for the purpose of doing harm to other nations. Here is part of a statement released by the United States: "These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust....." This set off a great deal of concern among nations, particularly Israel. Shortly afterward, the U.S. issued a key correction: "....Iran had a robust...."

Whoever distributed the statement initially had put things in the present rather than past tense. Ooops. This is a perfect example of how a small error can actually be a very big one; almost like amputating the wrong leg. Even though "nobody's perfect," this is why in matters of consequence that truism should not just be embraced but safe-guarded against. When we communicate, particularly in writing, we should assume we have had a mistake and then double and perhaps even triple check what we have composed. Our imperfection is a way of life for all of us. So, too, should be steps to be constantly on the look-out for it. This is where vigilance is a key to acts of successful and even effective communication.

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