Why bother to read a book about something so obvious androutine as communication? Perhaps because, obvious or not,communication is one of the most important things we ever do.It is the interpersonal equivalent of breathing. Just as thephysical life of any individual depends on breathing, theinteractive life of any number of people, from a couple to acountry, depends on communication.Another way in which communication is like breathing is thatwe often take it for granted. Indeed, we ignore some aspectsalmost completely. In the case of breathing, that only matters inspecial circumstances. Most of the time, we breathe fairly wellwithout thinking about it. However, when it comes tocommunication, it is best not to leave too much to chance.To ignore some aspects of communication is to wearinterpersonal blinkers. Blinkers allow you to see ahead, butthere is a very real risk of bumping into
or even falling off
unnoticed things which are right beside you. Especially(though by no means only) if you work with people, suchhaphazard interpersonal navigation is simply not good enough.No prior knowledge about communication is assumed in thislittle book, and the emphasis is on the practical things which Ihave found most helpful during my medical career. As a result,many aspects of communication are not addressed at all. Thosethat are included are discussed from a personal perspective, butI have not proposed any entirely new theories or methods.Despite their brevity, I think these notes provide a basicunderstanding of the principles and practices which enablegood communication. I therefore hope that readers will findthem not only interesting, but also of practical value.