Expression Communication Braid

Day 13 Week 2 Q1  Friday, January 13, 2023

Braids are cool. They have been making nice ropes, lines and hairdos for thousands of years. They are strong and attractive. Braiding expression with communication makes each of them better in the same way. Why are we told we have to choose between the two? Specialization is not always all it is cracked up to be. Creative outliers often have more of a need to express themselves than to communicate. Professional communicators are often used as vessels for others to fill. Expression without relevance may feel good to the transmitter but not necessarily to the receiver. Smooth communication without the anthemic blush of insight is equally problematic. 

This is difficult to bridge, which is why artists, entertainers, and leaders often have professional representation. They can be better at being then at communicating. Startups and novices usually do not have that luxury, and even if rougher around the edges can feel more authentic. However, we seem to trust experts more than beginners.  Why is this the case? Why are expression and communication not usually braided?

That creative act in most fields is generally messy. We have first drafts that we would never send out. Or prototypes not yet ready for prime time. Or startups not ready for customers. 

But the smoothing and homogenizing and positioning, and walking back do not feel very authentic to me. We pay people to say things in a way that is compelling even though they may have no idea what they are talking about.

I have a suggestion. 

Do not immediately sanitize if you are a creative outlier with some kind of insight resulting in a burst of messy creative, energetic output. Yes, I know we live in a world ruled by the perception of political correctness, but frankly, I believe hardly a word that comes out of the mouths of professional communicators. I would rather see an odd gaffe or a loss of one’s temper to gauge the reality of a situation. 

If you have ideas and want to express them, you had better learn how because it is not clear that all of us can be successfully represented by others. You have to learn how to communicate, especially when the value you are bringing to the table is going to require some dialog to ensure comprehension.  

Braid together your insights, expressions and communications. Put yourself in the place of the others you are attempting to communicate with. What you say, you have no idea whom you are trying to communicate with. Are you waiting for someone else to tell you whom you are expressing to? Oh, you are doing it for yourself and hoping to be discovered? Get real; if you do not know whom you are communicating to, there is a good chance you are communicating with no one and living in the echo chamber of your mind. Don’t feel bad. We all start there. But if we end there, then that is a problem.

I understand this is not a popular view because if you can delegate away what you want to say than perhaps you think that you do not have to take reasonability for what you are saying.

One reason I tend to prefer the improvised life, even though it is riskier than the sanitized life with no mistakes, is that it is far more authentic because only then can it be in the present moment.

Different strokes for different folks. Yes, I did notice that jazz, a most improvisatory art form, is not exactly topping the charts. People often get nervous when they do not know beforehand what is happening. Some of us get nervous when there is no possible risk because there may be no possible learning without risk.

So express away because if you are only communicating, not expressing, you are a reporter, not an artist. We pay reporters not to have an opinion or at least not to convey it. I am not putting down reporters at all. I think it must be incredibly difficult, to pretend that you do not have an opinion when reporting. 

Do we really have to choose between communicating and feeling? Perhaps that is why there is such a leadership vacuum. People who really stand for something, have insight, and want to express themselves may be too messy to deal with, so instead, we get our freeze-dried, dehydrated leadership. 

Do not let this happen to you in terms of your creativity. If you over-constrain it, it will leave you. You are a creative outlier, and this is worth a lot. Protect and defend this by learning to braid your expression and communication.   

And yes, I am biased, but it is my firm belief that being creative has more value than being an excellent communicator of others’ ideas. So, if I had to choose between being an ideator or a communicator, you know which side of the fence I come down on. But this means having to learn to communicate and how to integrate it with the ideation.