The main goal of communication is not to express our thoughts to others. It is to be understood. Unlike art that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways & still fascinate its viewers, communication must be clear & non-ambiguous for it to reach its goal. We need to learn the language of those who are to receive our message, and by language, I do not mean only words. The deeper the meaning we are to convey, the more nuances we need to learn about those with whom we try to communicate and to do that, we should learn first to listen.
The Titanic’s tragedy was a result of a communication failure that started with a failure to listen. A nearby vessel tried to communicate to the Titanic that the waters had become more and more icy & dangerous. Instead of listening, one of the Titanic’s telegraph operators replied: “Shut up! I am busy” because he prioritized sending an advertisement for a poker game in LA at the request of one wealthy passenger.
Later, when the Titanic started to sink, the same operator tried to send two different signals, “CQD” & “SOS,” because his higher-ups had no firm decision about which one should be used. Vessels around were confused & the closest vessel was … silent because its operator went to sleep after he received the Titanic’s message to shut up. When the communication about the disaster finally went through, it was already too late for more than 1.500 people, including that very operator, who continued to send requests for help up until the Titanic sank.
For us to survive the rough waters of immigration, we have to learn how to communicate well, humbly listening to what others have to say instead of being arrogant & tangled in our own ostentatious business & clearly expressing our needs in a way that others can understand for sure.