The Road to Abilene is a classic super short story in which communication skills are clearly lacking.
The story starts in a hot Texas home with no air conditioning on a hot Sunday afternoon. The dad suggested they drive 60 miles to Abilene for ice cream. Mom, daughter and son-in-law gave vague assent, and they all got into the car.
In the next scene, walking back into the house after their trip, Mom questioned why they even went to Abilene, complaining she’d never really wanted to go.
The daughter and son-in-law quickly jumped on the negative bandwagon. All three denied actually wanting to go to Abilene, saying they only went because the rest of the family wanted to go. However, before the trip, no one had said how he or she truly felt about going to Abilene.
Even Dad hadn’t really wanted to go to Abilene. He’d merely been trying to think of something for the family to do on a Sunday afternoon. He really hadn’t thought anyone would say yes when he suggested going.
So everyone went on an awful trip to Abilene, but no one really wanted to go at all because no one shared their true feelings.
Have you ever been in a faculty meeting that was literally headed towards its own Abilene?
People saying things, or worse yet, keeping quiet, because they thought that’s what someone else wanted or expected. All the time keeping their own thoughts and ideas subservient to what they think others want.
Scripture addresses that very issue in 2 Corinthians 1:17 & 18. “Am I like people of the world who say yes when they really mean no? I am not.”
Thus, great communicators have some important characteristics.
- never, ever give in to perception rather than hold to reality
- are confident in their own philosophy and practicality
- decry apathy and mediocrity
- speak with the confidence of solidly developed ideas
Join with us as we explore very specific action steps that we can take in improving our own (l) communication skills and also those of the entire group.