A glimpse into my past, an excerpt from my journal:
It was cold. The florescent lights cast a dull shadow. The men glared as I walked in. A fresh face. The door sealed shut behind me, separating me from the outside. I felt like a spectacle. The men whistled at me as if I were a dog. So, this is jail.
I never thought that I would see the day nor would I have reason to believe that I would ever stepfoot in a place like that. I was just inches away from men who have taken the lives of innocent people, men who have completely defiled women and men who have stolen, cheated, mugged, assaulted … other people–innocent people. Cement walls. Tables and chairs bolted to the floor. Communal showers. Toilets exposed for everyone to see. Prison, not a friendly place.
As a law abiding citizen, reading this might surprise you or even scare you. If you know me personally, you might be shocked. If you follow me on Twitter, you might be on your way to unfollowing me, but wait–why?
You think that I did something wrong. You think that I did some prison-time at some point in my life. You think that I was locked up with big-time criminals. Let me ask you something, where did you gather that? Did I ever tell you that? In the journal entry did I say I was in jail? No.
This entry serves as a valuable lesson, two actually, one to speakers (writers, bloggers, communicators, etc.) and one to audiences (anyone listening). Careful how you communicate and be careful how you receive communication.
Speakers, you have the ability to craft words in such a way to portray anything you want without lying, just twisting the truth or embellishing reality. This piece is truly something from my past experiences, however what I failed to include was that it was a trip to visit someone I knew who was in jail, not my actual experience in jail.
Readers, it is easy to jump to conclusions after just reading a headline or an excerpt from an article. Before you jump to conclusions and think you know the whole story, be careful to read everything. You never know what you might be missing.
This just goes as another reminder of how crucial communication needs to be in the workplace and in life in general! Be a responsible speaker and a responsible reader!