Communication Lessons from an 8-track

The word communication comes from the Latin word “Communicare” which translated is defined as “shared meaning.” So in simple terms, when we communicate (both verbal and non-verbal), if the receiver of the message does share the meaning of what we have communicated in the way in which we intended; we HAVE NOT communicated and thereby fallen short of the standard of communication.

As the number of conversations I have with people increases, so does the number of stories of woe as it pertains to failed communication attempts.  In particular, people are leaving communicative interactions bruised, angry, confused, disconnected, disengaged and most of all hurt.  We can do better.  For our soul’s sake; we MUST do better!

Our improvement can be found in a piece of technology from my childhood that I have a love/hate relationship with.  Long before iPods and Pandora, the way to listen to music was an 8-track.  Now for some of you younger folks, an 8-track tape looked like a big cartridge.  The music was recorded on a spool of tape that was wound up inside of the cartridge casing.


The blessing and the curse of the 8-track was that you had to learn ALL of the music on each album because there was no way to skip forward, and more importantly, there was no reverse.  The same is true for interpersonal communication.  Communication is irreversible.  There is no rewind button. And the meanings of what we say and do are in people, not in the words we use.

What would change in our lives if we stopped and remembered that everything we communicate is FINAL.  Once its out there, we cannot take it back.  No delete.  No rewind.  No do-overs.  AND, just like that 8-track tape, what we communicate is written on the hearts and minds of those we communicate, and those tunes play on a loop in the minds of others as we continue our relationships.

Let’s take a tip from the old-school, and revolutionize our communication by thinking about the permanent tape we want others to play from the music of our life and words BEFORE we speak.

Peace and Blessings,


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