Monday, March 23, 2015

Alan Alda On The Basis Of Good Communication
(Hearing So That Others Can Hear You)

Alda (right), with Gary Burghoff ('Radar')
Recently, one of my favorite actors made a surprise appearance on one of my favorite podcasts. The point he makes there applies to church leaders - clergy and lay - at least as much as it does to the scientists for whom he makes the point. Anyway, here's Alan Alda - in the Freakonomics episode This Idea Must Die - talking about the importance of improvisation, relating, and "reading the other" for good communication:

"I love science, and I love to read about science. And so I’m very concerned about how science is communicated. And for the last 25 years, I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to help scientists communicate about their work so that ordinary people like me can understand it. And now at the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University we train scientist in kind of unusual ways. We train them to relate to their audience first of all by introducing them to improvisation exercises. And that is not to make them performers, or make them comics, or get them to invent things on their feet, which is what we usually think of in terms of improvising. It’s to get them to relate, which the improvising exercises all do. They make you, they put in you in a position where you have to observe the other player, and you have read the other player’s face and tone of voice. In a way you have to read the other person’s mind. And that’s, I think, the basis of good communication. You’ve got to know what’s going on in the mind of the person listening to you to know if you’re getting through to them or not."

Find the entire transcript here. Or listen here.

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