Communications are not ‘Mere words’

I am lucky to have been exposed to on-line communications for over three decades. The airline industry as far as the early sixties communicated on line: first with telexes then later through a network of computer terminals. This form of communication is quite distinctive to the normal written letter and mail mode. Communicating through emails which is now the most common way requires different reflexes. Texting and SMS are invading our communications sphere. What are the rules to obey? Do you consider the usefulness of the message sent to your addressees?

This recent article, entitled ‘Mere Words’ from the web highlights some aspects we have to watch out in particular with the internet.

Mere Words:

How to improve your online communication

by Barbara Neal Varma

You’re trying to figure out why your wife’s brother just sent you a flaming e-mail-at work, no less-when a message pops up from your boss with only question marks in the subject line, (that can’t be good), your daughter texts you to ask for permission to stay overnight with her “BFF,” whatever that is, and you’ve got close to 200 e-mails all with red priority flags like ants on your screen. You rub your gritty, glare-strained eyes and wonder: When did simply communicating get to be so hard?

You’re not alone. With today’s popularity in e-mailing, blogging and texting, more than half of our conversations are written instead of verbal. While convenient, experts say confusion can easily occur when the usual visual cues such as facial expression are not present. “It’s easier to spot signals when meeting someone face-to-face,” says Dr. Will Reader of Sheffied Hallam University in his recent study on online social networks. “It’s harder to spot signals online.”

So how do we get our messages safely across the virtual divide? Follow these easy steps to make your electronic communication more clear and comprehensible.

At Work

Get to the Point – Ever receive an e-mail so long it made your Starbucks turn cold? Or do you stop reading after one paragraph? Studies show that the attention span of online readers is significantly shorter than those reading printed material. “In research on how people read Web sites, we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across,” says Web page usability expert Dr. Jakob Nielsen. He recommends using half the word count or less than conventional writing when composing electronic messages.

Another good habit to practice: write in active, not passive voice; “Jill promoted Jack” instead of “Jack was promoted.” The latter begs the question, by whom? Busy business folks don’t have time for mysteries.

Begin your message with your main points: your question, your answer, your researched information then fill in the details behind instead of starting with a yawner of a preamble. Think of any follow-up questions your recipients may have and address them in your original message to avoid a rush of return e-mails.

Get it Right – Every social scientist or hiring official will tell you within the context of face-to-face communication, appearance means everything. Political correctness aside, people tend to form quick impressions based on others’ outward appearance, the golden rule for every dress-for-success seminar. Don’t let typos or sloppy grammar ruin your good image online. Remember, your e-mail has the potential to be shared with every other colleague and client in the company. Avoid leaving a legacy of cyber errors with your signature at the bottom. Don’t depend on Spell Check to catch every spelling mistake. Some misspellings make perfectly spelled words by themselves and, therefore, don’t generate a red squiggly line alert.

Keep it Professional – Hey, no one likes to be YELLED AT. Using all caps in your message means you are shouting, and if your recipient is the company vice president or an important client, he or she might not appreciate your uppity tone. Remember, your readers are not seeing you on their computer monitor, they are seeing your words; guard them and your reputation well. “My e-mail is a piece of professional communication that speaks to the person who wrote it,” says Human Resources Director Diana Clark during a recent career readiness seminar. “Don’t use slang,” she advises. “Don’t use capital letters. Don’t use inappropriate dialogue with a co-worker. Somebody else is going to see that, then it goes to the boss.”

And save the winsome daisy background and jumping graphics for your MySpace page. There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no room for emoticons (smiley faces and their winking cousins) in business e-mail. Using cartoons to punctuate your prose just looks, well, cartoonish.

At Home

Think Before You Send – “Susan” stared at the computer screen, not believing her eyes, but there it was: a flaming e-mail from her brother listing everything he felt she’d done wrong regarding their elderly mother’s care. His words were harsh; he said things she had no idea he was thinking, let alone willing to say. But that’s the point: he hadn’t said them at all. He’d e-mailed her instead.

Social psychologists liken these e-mail eruptions to the “road rage” phenomenon when otherwise calm folks suddenly become avenging drivers, exhibiting symptoms of outrage and anger not consistent with their everyday behavior. The key and catalyst in both road rage and e-rage is the perceived sense of privacy and power the car/computer conveys.

So what to do if you are on the other side of a hostile e-mail? First, like in any good emergency, stay calm. Your options are to respond in kind (tempting…), respond with calmer words to explain your side of things, or ignore the e-mail but pay attention to the sender and give them a call. You might discover there was more emotion to the message than sincerity and with a verbal conversation, you can better figure out the core problem. If the message is truly an attack on you, your family, or your golden retriever, simply delete it without reply and perhaps restrict your interaction. You’ve learned something about this individual and how they prefer to handle stress-by venting at you.

Be Versatile – Sure, you may yearn for the good old days when talking to someone meant they were actually in the same room, but with today’s variety of virtual communication, you might just as easily have a conversation with your friend in Timbuktu as you do with your next door neighbor. Instant messages, Web blogs, Facebook, MySpace; today’s technology has advanced our ability to stay in touch almost to the point of Star Trek’s famous “Beam me up, Scotty” communicators. Cell phones, especially, have become the new communicator to the current generation of teens and twenty-somethings, bringing forth a whole new cyber-lingo with enough acronyms and abbreviations to seem more code than conversation.

Take a computer course, learn how to use the latest e-mail programs and read that instruction manual for your cell phone that you’d tucked away thinking you already know how to use a phone, right? As you become more proficient at the many and varied ways to communicate today, you will not only expand your circle of friends and family ties, you’ll be opening up opportunities for connecting with others on a world-wide scale.

Practice Safe Text – On the one hand, e-mail lets us be ourselves. There’s no worry about spinach stuck in teeth or a lock of hair out of place. Men don’t even need to shave first. For those interested in meeting a potential dating prospect online, all this lack of posing and pretense makes e-mail conversations particularly personal: It’s just you and your chat partner with nothing between you but mere words.

But it’s that very bubble of easy intimacy that makes the Internet a virtual land of opportunity for imposters. Every year thousands of Internet users fall victim to identity theft, lulled like Cyrino’s Roxanne into believing that the message sender is who they say they are: a long lost friend, an enticing new acquaintance. A new-found love.

If you’re meeting new people online, practice the art of privacy until you are sure he or she (do we really know which?) is who they write they are. Don’t disclose your shoe size, your favorite American Idol candidate or your social security number to someone you don’t know well, and communicate via computer only in those contexts where you feel safe. Add a little restraint to your online chat and don’t fall for good-looking Subject lines suddenly appearing in your inbox. The person behind the prose might just well be a wolf in e-clothing.

La pensee Chinoise- le modele?

Mi chinois, métis, que je suis, ou banana que d’autres prétendent que je suis, j’ai le désire profond de sonder l’âme chinoise. Dans ce brouhaha des écrits des textes fondateurs de la chine depuis de millénaires, peut on en tirer une philosophie chinoise qui pourrait élucider ses agissements type chinois comme nous decryptons par exemples,des façons de faire des européens du basin méditerranéen.

La chine vaste et multi ethnique me semble avoir une culture culture  et  unefaçon de penser car la magnitutude du territoire et peuplades font la difference.

Hakka que je suis, forgé par ma tradition familiale, j’agis bien souvent dans mon inconscient dans un registre qui est ancré en moi par mon héritage culturel vécu. Mon souhait c’est bien là de déceler et si possible de comprendre les codes, concepts, logiques qui fait mon univers mentale.

Comme je n’ai comme langues que le français et l’anglais, le Kreole,et ma la langue maternelle Hakka, je suis conscient que mes acquisitions de connaissances et mes réflexions sont voiles par les filtres des langues utilisés et m’exclut des nuances qui ne sont exprimées ou implicitees dans les textes originaux. Cela me fait penser souvent a ODED EL DAD, illustre professeur qui en français nous traduit la version hébraïque du récit de Caen et Abel , donnant ainsi des valeurs tout autre que la lecture du texte en français.

Existe-t-il une philosophie chinoise ? Qu’entendons nous par philosophie à la mode, gréco-occidental, ou la pensée à la chinoise ?

Je me régale en lisant un texte qui met en exergue les idées exprimes dans les écrits des nombreux auteurs autour de la pensée chinoise. Anne Cheng, dans La pensée en chine; Francois Julien, dans Chemin faisant, connaitre la chine, relancer la philosophie ; Jean Luc Domenach dans le retour ambigu de la chine en Asie ;Joel Thoraval, sinologue connu dans de la philosophie en chine a la chine dans la philosophie ; Mou Zongsan, dans neo-confucianisme ;et tous une pléiade de penseurs chinois contemporains tel Liu Xiaofeng, Gan Yang, Liang Shuming et autres.

En résume je retiens  une citation:

Pour reprendre l’expression du sociologue et politologue Gil Delannoi  « toutes les lunettes méritent d’être essayés, lunettes de la ressemblance, les lunettes da la différence ». En d autres termes, certaines approches se révèlent communes aux chinois et aux européens, d’autres sont différentes. Des idées comme celles de sagesse, de liberté intérieure, d’autonomie morale ou bien public se trouvent dans la pensée chinoise comme dans celle de l’Europe ancienne.

Certaines oppositions originelles paraissent cependant absolues. En occident, par exemple, les sociétés dérivent plutôt d’un modèle pastoral dont elles ont hérité l’impératif du commandement, du volontarisme. La société chinoise, au contraire, procède d’un modèle agricole, végétal, fondé sur la patience, et la maturation. Dans le premier modèle, la parole et la voix sont décisives, tandis que, que dans le second, « l’écrit est antérieur à l’oral et possède, dans la composition combinatoire de signes eux-mêmes (la composition graphique des caractères) sa base normative ». Pour la philosophie grecque, l’opposition entre la contemplation et l’action est clairement affirmée, tandis qu’en Chine prévaut l’idée de processus continu, de fluidité, de mutation infinie. Il est vain de tirer une plante en espérant la faire pousser plus vite, dit un adage chinois.

Eh bien je suis ravi, cela m’a donne l’image d’un Hakka écologique, vegetal, vivant dans un univers qui mute en processus continue, très plastique capable de se transformer s perpétuité au guise de son environnement. Est-ce là le modèle de Kreole Morisien que nous cherchons ?

My WAY- Comme d’habitude

Today the 27th March is recognised as the 40th anniversary of the composing of the most famous song written by Jacques Revaux, lyrics by Gilles Thibault. Some critics rumoured that this song was presented to a couple of French singers of the like of Herve Villard who refused to take it on board. Claude Francois did.

Paul Anka rewrote the lyrics of English version of the tune soon after being offered this tune by his pal Claude Francois. It is believed that Paul Anka rewrote the song in less than 2 hours in Paris and turn it into ‘MY WAY ‘. Paul Anka took the song over the atlantic ocean which was sung by Frank Sinatra.

Paul Anka heard the original the French pop song, performed by Claude Francois ,while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song. In a 2007 interview, he said: “I thought it was a shitty record, but there was something in it.” He acquired publishing rights at no cost and, two years later, had a dinner in with Frank Sinatra and “a couple of guys” at which Sinatra said he was “quitting the business. I’m sick of it, I’m getting the hell out”. Sinatra’s singing rebounded thereon!

The explosion in popularity exploded when the King Elvis Presley retook it in his world satellite show in the 70’s.

Of the numerous honours attributed to this evergreen, the one you  will surely enjoy: “My Way” was found to be the song the most frequently played at  British funeral services.

Wikipedia trace a phenomenal number of published versions of this tune.

I cherish most my bathroom version of MY WAY because it is my way.

No wonder that WAY chain of supermarkets is so popular, because the chain is riding on the popularity of the name. That is the WAY!