Communication is…

Things we learn in college textbooks…

One of our regular participants at the First Friday Book Synopsis told me this a while back:  “basically, every thing you guys cover in these books we all should have learned in graduate school.”  He was not being critical – he was stating a truth.  The stuff we “learn” is primarily the stuff we are “reminded of.”

You know, “there is nothing new under the sun…”

Well, I teach speech at Eastfield College – one of our local community colleges.   I serve on the adjunct faculty.  In our text book Human Communication:  The Basic Course by Joseph A. DeVito, we are taught/reminded of some genuinely important truths that are valuable and useful for every speaker, every presenter, and every leader.

Here are four “truths” about communication from DeVito’s book that are worthy of remembering every time you speak, every time you present, and every time you write an e-mail:

Communication is ambiguous — messages have more than one potential meaning.

Communication is inevitable – you are communicating, whether you “intend to” or not.

Communication is irreversible – you cannot undo a communication.

Communication is unrepeatable – you can repeat words all you want, but the circumstances, in your heart and mind, and in your audience’s hearts and minds, and in everything else around you – everyone and everything is always changing.


  • Communication is ambiguous
  • Communication is inevitable
  • Communication is irreversible
  • Communication is unrepeatable

So being clear; being intentional; being “complete,” avoiding really dumb mistakes; all of these are important to remember as you communicate with others.

This is a good place to remind us of the principles from Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.


Principles from Made to Stick


Six Principles from Made to Stick:

1) Simple;
2) Unexpected;
3) Concrete;
4) Credible;
5) Emotional;
6) Use/Tell Stories

And, for an idea to stick, for it to be useful and lasting, it’s got to make the audience:

1)  Pay attention — be UNEXPECTED
2)  Understand and remember it — be CONCRETE
3)  Agree/Believe — be CREDIBLE
4)  Care — be EMOTIONAL
5)  Be able to act on it — tell a good STORY

We have to keep working on our communication — our speaking, our writing.  These truths will help you remember what to work on…



Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

2 responses

  1. I’m going to share this my fellow ministers at church. Another home run. I so enjoy your posts. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Enna. It’s a pleasure.

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