As writers, we seek to change the world in some way through our work. But how often do we actually pause and ask ourselves what that means? What is the message we’re trying to communicate to our audiences? Does our work effectively do this? And, more importantly, is this information being received?

“If I have the best message in the world but it doesn’t land on you, you don’t get it, you don’t follow me, what good is my message?”

I was honored to sit down with actor, director, screenwriter, and author Alan Alda to talk about one of his lifelong passions: good communication. Alan’s recent book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, explores how his experiences in television, film, and stage taught him to better engage with people. Through programs like the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and Alda Communication Training, Alan also helps research and teach better methods of communication and connectivity.

“Real listening is the ability to be willing to be changed by the other person… You not only become more available to the other person when you’re exercising empathy, you become more available to yourself.”

In this week’s Coffee Break, Alan and I talk about the role of an author or speaker in communicating their message and being understood. We also chat about life’s wonderful little interruptions, the benefits of empathy and a willingness to be changed, identifying authenticity in writing, and how to deliver more genuine exposition.

“People say you gotta bury the exposition. Sometimes no matter how deeply you bury it, there’s still a mound of dirt you trip over.”

I had a marvelous time talking with Alan and am so grateful for a chance to speak with him. I hope his wisdom inspires you to think about your own methods of communication and how to improve as a creator. Be sure to say hello to Alan on his social medias and check in on new developments at his various websites. Thank you all for listening and always strive to be understood!

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