In the height of basketball season, and if we can get this Super Bowl thing over with, we can concentrate on what’s really important — March madness (which starts in October and ends in April). A group of buddies from my alma mater discuss the week’s highs and lows and all things athletic via email. There are some funny things shared, plenty of male testosterone surges of trash talking, and not just a little bit of armchair quarterbacking — or whatever you call it when basketball is involved.It’s always fun after a weekend to see what people will start to rant and rave about — two people watching the same game can come away with VERY different conclusions about what worked and what didn’t. “The point guard couldn’t stop my mother!” and “Wow! Was he on fire or what!?” can easily be offered as analyses about the same player. Some people can take umbrage against the coach, while another admired a particular tactic. One thought the officiating was a clear case of a home-town crew while the other saw two critical no-calls that let the opposite team take advantage. People apparently cannot step aside from their allegiances and just view things objectively. Nor should we expect them to.The communication point is related to Rule #1. You cannot say for sure what people will interpret from your message. They listen from their unique point of view and their own needs. But if you have a point you want them to get, you better make it clear and not leave it up for debate. There’s a good chance their interpretation will draw a conclusion you didn’t mean for them to take away.

Don’t leave your message up to interpretation.

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