I did not think I would write something to “piggy-back” on my thoughts regarding planning, but this seems like a fitting side topic and certainly one of note. About two years ago I moved to another state in the US and was talking to a group of co-workers. They kept saying a term I was unfamiliar with. Usually, when this happens, after listening to them and the context of the phrase you can figure out what it means. Not this time, not for me. The usage was so wide and varied that even listening to them for a long period of time I could not figure it out and I had to ask, “What does that mean?”
It started me thinking about why it was difficult to understand what they were saying. They were are speaking clearly and in English, my native language. It is and will continue to be an issue when moving and communicating with people from different backgrounds. Not to say to communicate one way is better than another; for me there is nothing like listening to people from the South or North East, so unique. Rather, when we have vital information to pass with importance and ramification behind it we should communicate in a fashion that is understood by all. So, how do we communicate in a way everybody understands? By avoiding slang, geographic and demographic terminology.
I’m not old enough to have this experience with my kids, but I can remember this happening with my dad. I came home from school, like any kid I picked up slang from school, used the slang with my dad and he had no idea what I was talking about. The same would go for most of us if we were dropped into a military scenario and beyond being unfamiliar with everything happening around us, everyone is speaking in code and acronyms. It may be well and good for them, but how could you help, participate or know what not to do if you do not understand what is being said?
Coming around to planning and practicing. Remember that not everyone has the same training or knowledge. Typically, with training and knowledge shortcuts in communication become standard. So, when planning and practicing remember to keep your communication clear and avoid words, terms or acronyms that others around your or even your family may not understand. Having clear communication is important in most situations, but like everything else in an emergency potential problems can grow exponentially. You can imagine, I am sure, how badly it would feel if a bad situation could have been avoided given proper communication and understanding. Good communication is not the responsibility of the speaker alone. Of course, those who are listening need to be attentive and willing to hear the message being delivered. We can however, assist in situations where the audience may be affected by the environment and what they own bodies/minds are telling them to do. Assistance, in this case, comes in the form of clear easily understood and recognizable communication.