• Don Cruickshank

The Person Giving The Message Is Responsible For The Understanding

The Person Giving The Message Is Responsible For The Understanding!

Look, I’m not talking about when the listener is distracted, not paying attention, jumping to conclusions (which isn’t really listening), and all other poor listening practices like looking at your phone when somebody is talking to you.


What I am talking about is when the communicator speaks, but the listener doesn’t understand. In that case, the majority of the onus is on the communicator.


I remember being in a worship band practice and the leader said, “Drums only.”

All of a sudden the guitar ratcheted up and started giving it! (Yes I know guitarists are there own breed, but that’s not the point.)


We all stopped and the leader asked the guitarist what he was doing.

In a humorous moment, the guitarist said, “I thought you said, ‘Strum boldly.’”

The leader said, “No. I said, ‘Drums only.’”

We all had a good laugh. But the onus is on the communicator to make sure that the listeners understand the message.


ANOTHER TIME, I was in a class with a communications expert. As he talked with me he said, “If you don’t understand what I’m saying, that’s now your fault. You’re not an idiot. It just means that I am not communicating well.”

I have tried to use that same approach while communicating. I know that the person I’m communicating with likely isn’t an idiot (if they were, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to communicate with them).

Next time you are communicating with someone, regardless of your past history with them, remember you are the one responsible to make sure they understand the message.



Don Cruickshank, MALM (Masters in Leadership & Management)

*Certified in Team Leadership

*Leading From Your Strengths Certified Trainer, Coach, Consultant

- Empowering individuals and organizations towards creating successful futures 



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© 2019 by Don Cruickshank