Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buttered Toast and Effective Communication

I was recently reminded of the event that George Orwell relates in his book on the Spanish Civil War. Both sides would shout slogans at one another across the "no man's land":

The man who did the shouting at the P.S.U.C. post down on our right was an artist at the job. Sometimes, instead of shouting revolutionary slogans he simply told the Fascists how much better we were fed than they were. His account of the Government rations was apt to be a little imaginative.' Buttered toast!'--you could hear his voice echoing across the lonely valley--'We're just sitting down to buttered toast over here! Lovely slices of buttered toast!' I do not doubt that, like the rest of us, he had not seen butter for weeks or months past, but in the icy night the news of buttered toast probably set many a Fascist mouth watering. It even made mine water, though I knew he was lying.

That is effective communication.

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