My 7-year-old daughter has been a member of her school choir for almost 2 years. Every Thursday lunchtime, she rushes through her lasagne in the lunch hall, has a quick dash round the playground and then trots along to the music classroom. There she giggles with her friends and belts out a few tunes (all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order). All in the name of having a bit of fun, giving it a go, taking part in something.
But this term, it’s getting serious. The school choir has been entered into a local community music competition. Suddenly she has choir practice nearly every day, is coming home with CDs to practice to and has printed lyrics to learn. And that’s when we discovered the discrepancy….
Turns out that my daughter – and probably most of the other choristers – has been singing ‘Raisin shout’ instead of ‘Raise a shout’. It was only when she saw the words written down that she realised what she was supposed to be singing. Cue more giggling!
We’ve all done it. There you are singing along merrily to your favourite song on the radio, which you have been singing along to for years, when suddenly that little voice in your head – or, if you’re unlucky, the voice of your amused mate in the car – chimes in “All the dinner ladies, you say?! Do you not think perhaps it’s actually ‘All the single ladies’?!” Suddenly it dawns on you that your assumptions are wrong and what you’re saying makes no sense whatsoever. What we’ve heard and what has actually been said (or sung) are two completely different things.
That’s something that we all need to be careful of in our communications – assuming that what we’ve heard is what was intended or assuming that our audience has heard what we meant. I doubt Beyoncé is too bothered whether we’re singing the right words to her songs or not, but in other situations, mis-heard words and communications can cause problems. Checking in to make sure that there are no mis-understandings is a crucial part of any effective and successful communication campaign.
If you need help with checking that your communications are being understood as you intended or advice on dealing with mis-understandings, get in touch.
Until next time (and hoping for success in the choir competition)