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Communication Illustrations

  • A Place and Time for Everything

    Movie theater etiquette.While watching a movie recently, I couldn't hear the dialogue over the chatter of the two women sitting in front of me. Unable to bear it any longer, I tapped one of them on the shoulder.

    "Excuse me," I said, "I can't hear."

    "I should hope not," she replied sharply. "This is a private conversation."

  • Attractive First Impressions

    military manWhen my best friend James came home on his first Army leave, my little brother asked him what he did in the service.

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders," James replied.

    Walking in town that day, James and I ran into a buddy who also asked him what he did in the Army. James gave the same reply:

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders."

    A while later, we met a former classmate, an attractive woman, and she asked the same question. This time, James said,

    "I'm studying communications, learning foreign languages and traveling around the world."

  • Back To School Notes

    back to_school_copyA wise school teacher sends this note to all parents on the first day of school:

    "If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I'll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home."

  • Born Salesman

    boatI learned a lesson in marketing from a man who bought an old boat, a trailer, and a motor from me. "Thanks," he said as he loaded them up. "I'm planning to resell them."

    Good luck, I thought. I had been trying to get rid of them for months. But when I ran into him a few weeks later, he'd sold everything.

    "How did you manage that?" I marveled.

    "I took out an ad: 'Heavy-duty boat trailer with free boat.' When the buyer came to get it, I asked if he had a motor. He said no. I told him I happened to have one in my garage. Bought that, too."

  • Cell Phones, Manners

    restaurant meal3Friends and I were chatting over dinner in a restaurant. A man at the next table told his cell-phone caller to hold on. Then he stepped outside to talk.

    When he returned, I said, "That was very thoughtful."

    "I had no choice," he nodded and said to me. "You were making too much noise."

  • Clear Communication

    business meetingIn a software design meeting, we were using typical technical jargon to discuss a data exchange interface with a vendor.

    One co-worker said the programming we had ordered was delayed because the vendor was suffering from a "severe non-linear waterfowl issue."

    Curious, the team leader raised his eyebrows and asked, "What exactly is that?"

    The programmer replied, "They don't have all their ducks in a row."

  • Communication

    teachIn promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your conversational communications possess a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibility, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations.

    Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, prurient jocosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant or apparent.

    In other words, talk plainly, briefly, naturally, sensibly, truthfully, purely. Keep from slang; don't put on airs; say what you mean; mean what you say.

    And DON'T USE BIG WORDS!

  • Communication in Marriage

    restaurant mealMy husband, Michael, and I were at a restaurant with his boss, a rather stern older man. When Michael began a tale, which I was sure he had told before, I gave him a kick under the table. There was no response, so I gave him another poke. Still the story went on. Suddenly he stopped, grinned and said, "Oh, but I've told you this one before, haven't I?"

    We all chuckled and changed the subject. Later, on the dance floor, I asked my husband why it had taken him so long to get my message.

  • Conversational Prayer

    book1In line at the bookstore, I couldn't help noticing the two bestsellers the person in front of me was prepared to purchase:

    "Conversations With God" and "How to Argue and Win Every Time."

  • Criticism, Feedback, Judgement

    letterA minister was opening his mail one morning and drawing a single sheet of paper from an envelope he found written on it only one word: "FOOL."

    The next Sunday he announced, "I have known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their name.

    "But this week I received a letter from someone who signed his name but forgot to write a letter."

  • Curiosity

    bike pumpWaiting for an elevator at a local hospital, I was standing next to a maintenance person holding a bicycle pump.

    Noticing my curious stares, he looked at me and remarked with a smile, "It's the newest HMO oxygen program."

  • Deception

    Mouse illustrationsThere was a little mouse in his little hole in the wall. On the one day the mouse really wanted to take a walk, a huge cat was right at his door. The little mouse was really upset that he couldn't leave.

    While he was trying to figure out a solution, the mouse heard a dog barking. That's when he had a great thought. He said to himself, "Where there is a dog, there is no cat, and where there is no cat, I can go for my walk."

    So he strutted on out of his mouse hole.

    All of a sudden the cat grabbed the mouse, chewed him up, and ate him.

    Then the cat said, "Wow, it's great to be bilingual!"

  • Family Harmony

    wooden crossOne Sunday a priest announced he was passing out miniature crosses made of wood.

    "Put this cross in the room where your family argues most," he advised. "When you look at it, the cross will remind you that God is watching."

    When the parishioners were leaving church, a woman walked up to the priest, shook his hand, and said, "I'll take five."

  • Family, Holiday Visits

    bellsA minister well known for his beautiful singing voice came home visibly upset after consulting with a new widow about funeral plans for her recently deceased husband. His wife asked him what was wrong, and he revealed that the wife had asked him to sing her husband's favorite song, "Jingle Bells," at the funeral.

    He was troubled that it wasn't appropriate to the solemn occasion. He struggled and prayed about it, and finally decided to honor the grieving widow's wishes.

  • Fibs, Truth, Honor

    personCommon, Everyday Fibs

    * The check is in the mail.

    * I'll start my diet tomorrow.

    * We service what we sell.

    * Give me your number and the doctor will call you right back.

    * Money cheerfully refunded.

    * One size fits all.

  • Forgiveness and Temptation

    sign no parkingA minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.

    Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses."

    When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. 'Lead us not into temptation.'"

  • Generation Gap

    computer2I've got 3 TVs, cable and a satellite dish. I have 3 phone lines in the house, a cell phone and one in the car.

    I use 2 computers, 3 ISPs and a fax. I subscribe to two daily papers and one weekly one. I watch both the local and the network news every evening.

    And my kids have the nerve to tell me I'm out of touch.

  • Give Tech Support a Break

    tugboatOur tech company uses satellite communications to send and receive messages from tugboats moving barges up and down major rivers. Each day, by 2pm, the tugboats send data on the day's activities to the company's traffic department.

    At least that's how it is supposed to work.

    "I got a call from our traffic department saying they only received data from about half the boats, and would I check on it?" the technician Don says.

    He calls the satellite company, but the satellite technician there says there's no problem on his end.

    Meanwhile, the traffic department calls again - they're still not getting messages from the missing boats.

  • Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

    cameraAn amateur photographer was invited to dinner with friends and took along a few pictures to show the hostess. She looked at the photos and commented "These are very good! You must have a good camera."

    He didn't make any comment, but, as he was leaving to go home he said,

    "That was a really delicious meal! You must have some very good pots."

  • Grandmother Flight

    phone2After booking my 80-year-old grandmother on a flight from Florida to Nevada, I called the airline to go over her special needs. The representative listened patiently as I requested a wheelchair and an attendant for my mother because of her arthritis and impaired vision to the point of near blindness.

    My apprehension lightened a bit when the woman assured me that everything would be taken care of. I thanked her profusely.

    "Oh, you're welcome," she replied.

    I was about to hang up when she cheerfully asked,... "And will your grandmother need a rental car?"

  • If

    greece ancientIn ancient Sparta, citizens were noted for economy of speech.

    Legend has it that Philip of Macedonia, storming the gates of Sparta, sent a message to the besieged king..."If we capture your city we will burn it to the ground."

    A one-word answer came back:

    "If."

  • Intimidation

    fistA big hulking hooligan walks into a bar, slams his fist down, and yells "Give me a beer, or...!"

    Scared, the bartender serves the man his beer. This happens everyday for a week straight, and the bartender turns into a nervous wreck. He asks his wife for advice, and she tells him he should stand up for himself. Easier said than done, he thinks, but he decides to try it.

    The next day, the hooligan returns. "Give me a beer, or...!"

    "O-o-o-o-r-r-r w-what?" stammers the bartender.

    "... a small Coke."

  • Invitation

    book mysteryMrs. Jones was reading a letter at breakfast.

    Suddenly she looked up suspiciously at her husband.

    "Henry," she said, "I've just received a letter from mother saying she isn't accepting our invitation to come and stay, as we do not appear to want her. What does she mean by that? I told you to write and say that she was to come at her own convenience. You did write, didn't you?"

    "Er, yes, I did," said the husband. "But I couldn't spell convenience, so I made it risk."

  • Job Impressions

    dad daughterI had always talked about my job a lot at home, and my young daughter had always expressed great interest. So I thought it would be a treat for her to spend the day with me at the office. Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I didn't tell her where we were going, just that it would be fun.

    Although usually a bit shy, she seemed excited to meet each colleague I introduced. On the way home, however, she seemed somewhat down.

    "Didn't you have a nice time?" I asked.

    "Well, it was okay," she responded, "but I thought it would be more like a circus."

    Confused, I asked, "Whatever do you mean?"

    She said, "Well, you said you work with a bunch of clowns, and I never got to see them!"

  • Legalism 2

    coffee cupTwo lawyers walk into a restaurant. They put their briefcases on the floor and order two coffees. They get their coffee and pull out lunches from their briefcases.

    "Sorry," the waitress says, "You can`t eat your own food here."

    The lawyers look at one another, shrug their shoulders and swap sandwiches.

  • Noises Under the Floor

    floorOur bathroom is in the back of the house and it's difficult to hear if someone is on the property to conduct inspections, maintenance or even to visit.

    One morning while getting ready for work, and thinking I was the only one at home, I kept hearing something crawl around under my bathroom floor. Thinking that somehow the neighbor's cat had gotten under the house, I began stomping the floor hard and shouting at the top of my lungs, "Get out of there!" and "Stop that!"

    Finally, the moving stopped so I finished getting ready and left for work.

  • Parenting, Role Models, Swearing

    class1A little boy was caught swearing by his teacher.

    "Jeffrey," she said, "you shouldn't use that kind of language. Where did you hear that?"

    "My daddy said it," he responded.

    "Well, it doesn't matter," explained the teacher. "You don't even know what it means."

    "I do so!" Jeffrey corrected. "It means the car won't start."

  • Personal Contact

    answering machineApparently not everyone is fed up with telephone-answering machines. At the newspaper office where I work, we have several of them for different departments.

    However, while on the evening shift I answer the newsroom phone. I took one call and heard a woman exclaim: "Oh! I thought I was going to get a machine. I'll call back in the morning." And she hung up.

  • Prayer Drawl

    trees lanewayA quotation from an invocation delivered by Rev. J. McCoy opening a prayer meeting in Georgia Camp Meeting.

    "Oh Lawd, give thy servant dis mawning de eyes of de eagle, and de wisdom of the owl, connect his soul wid the gospel telephone in de central skies.

    Luminate his brain wid de sun of heaven; turpentine his imagination, grease his lips wid possium oil, loosen his tongue wid de sledge hammer of thy power, lectrify his brain wid de lightenen of thy word, put petual motion in his arms, fill him plum full of de dynamite of thy glory; noint him all over wid de kerosene of thy salvation, den deah Lawd, set him on fire".

  • Progress, Progress?

    You know you are living in the 21st century when...

    computer2. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e-mail addresses.

    . You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

    . You call your son's beeper to let him know it's time to eat. He e-mails you back from his bedroom, "What's for dinner?"

    . Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.

    . You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven't spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.

  • Remembrance

    balloons2The staff at a business office was hosting a farewell luncheon for a retiring colleague. As the group prepared to go to the restaurant, they found that they couldn't fit the giant balloon they had purchased for the retiring 'guest of honor' into the car. Undaunted, they simply held the balloon out the window as they drove.

    The office workers were not prepared for the glares they received from passers-by, however.

    As the long line of traffic in front of their vehicle began to turn, they saw that their car was right behind a long funeral procession.

    There was nothing they could do but hold on to the balloon with its large farewell message: "GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN."

  • Savor of Christ

    Charles Spurgeon once told of a young preacher asking for feedback from a sermon, and who asked what an older pastor found wrong with his sermon. This was the old preacher's response:

    "There was no Christ in it."

    The young man defended himself, objecting, “Well, Christ was not in the text. We are not to be preaching Christ always; we must preach what is in the text.”

    In response, the older pastor drew this analogy:

    “Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London? Just so from every text in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ.

    Your business is to ask of a text, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis - Christ.

    I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it.

    I will go over hedge and ditch to get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there be a savor of Christ in it.”

  • Second Career

    bankA RETIRED Navy admiral, my father began a second career working in a bank. One morning, while he prepared his desk for the day, he was approached by a young officer from the nearby Naval base.

    "Sorry, but this department isn't open yet," Dad said.

    "But it's nine o'clock!" protested the officer.

    My father didn't look at his watch. Instead, he surveyed his customer's uniform.

    "Ensign," he snapped, "I'll decide when it's nine o'clock!"

  • Sincerity

    table setOne summer evening, a thirteen-year-old came in while his parents were setting the table for supper. Quite surprisingly, he asked if he could help.

    His mother said, "No, but I appreciate your asking."

    The child responded, "Well, I appreciate your saying 'no'."

  • Telling the Truth

    back-packing womanAfter eight days of backpacking with my wife Linda, we were looking pretty scruffy. One morning she came to breakfast in a baseball cap, her shoulder length hair sticking out at odd angles.

    "Terry," she said, "does my hair make me look like a water buffalo?"

    I thought for a moment, then said, "If I tell you the truth, do you promise not to charge?"

  • The Art of Romance

    roseA fellow was very much in love with a beautiful girl. One day she told him that the next day was her birthday. He told her he would send her a bouquet of roses... one for each year of her life.

    That evening he called the local florist and ordered twenty-one roses with instructions that they be delivered first thing the next morning.

    As the florist was preparing the order, he decided that since the young man was such a good customer, he would put an extra dozen roses in the bouquet.

    The fellow never did find out what made the young girl so angry with him.

  • Triple Filter Test, Gossip, Slander

    ancient greeceIn ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem.

    One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

    "Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

    "Triple filter?"

  • Warnings

    payment dueA taxpayer received a strongly worded "second notice" that his taxes were overdue. Hastening to the collector's office, he paid his bill, saying apologetically that he had overlooked the first notice.

    "Oh," confided the collector with a smile, "we don't send out first notices. We have found that the second notices are more effective."

  • Winning Arguments

    phone handheld 2One day I found Morris, my five-year-old son, with the telephone, which he quickly hung up when he saw me.

    "What were you doing?" I asked him.

    "Calling Aunt Sarah."

    "How could you have called Aunt Sarah?" I asked. "You don't even know her number."

    "Yes, I do and I did call her," little Morris replied.