Know your audience -- be sensitive to their situations

This column is for everyone who is married or getting married, has a child, has a home, has a job, is thin, is healthy, has a friend, has an opinion or simply breathes.

Please, know your audience!

Recently a friend of mine was sitting in her Mormon singles ward, ages 31-45, when the guest speaker encouraged women to get a post-high school education. Of course they were all WAY beyond high school, and most with advanced degrees. Another speaker must have felt she was empathizing with the group when she expressed how she knew what it is like to be an "older" single, as she didn't get married until the ripe old age of 26. One speaker shared how he knew what it is like to be single, because his wife was out of town for a couple of weeks.

Considering the setting these people were in, you can see how each of these comments was thoughtless and even ridiculous.

There are many rules of etiquette in the world of communication. I recently read a list of 12 tips for effective communication including: Don't put the other person on the spot, be responsible for the conversation, consider your body language, don't compete, don't be shy, etc. The one that stood out the most for me was, "Cram for the exam." The author explained, "Remind yourself beforehand whom you will see and what you know about them, particularly when it comes to sensitive subjects. Divorced? Out of work? Etc."

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