McNiven’s Meanderings-Make lemonade out of lemons

Jonathan McNiven

So as the saying goes, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”, I feel like this week has been two steps forward and one step back.  However, I’m determined to make lemonade out of the lemons that were offered.  However, when I step back away from the trees, I can see the whole forest of trees and the whole picture.  As I do that, I’m glad for opportunities that are called “do-overs.”  Hopefully, I’ll have something better to report in the near future.  Success takes time so you will have to wait a little longer.

On another note, by the time you get to reading this, the legislative session will be all wrapped up.  At least that is the word on the street.  I remember the end of the two legislative sessions I was in, and the short tempers and impatience that some Senators and Representatives had.  In fact, I’m sure I was impatient and intolerant as well.  But hopefully, I’m learning and continuing to learn each day.

I had the opportunity to go to Huntley Project High School last Friday and talk about Career day to the high school students.  It was a fun opportunity to talk about careers and a little about my industry in the media.  Thank you to those who invited me.  Considering that I only made 10 students cry (that line was a joke in case you missed it), it was a positive experience overall that day.

I talked about communications and how important it is in the way that we communicate.  Even though I have not mastered that yet, it was a good refresher for me each time I talked about it.

Did you know that when communicating something, 7 percent are the words, 38 percent is the tone, and 55 percent is the body language?  So when communicating with others, the words are not that important, but the words mixed with the body language and tone bring a whole different meaning to what is intended or received.

For example, think of the many different ways that you can deliver a Ritz Cracker to someone while saying “Here you go”?

One can be delivering the cracker on a nice silver platter while saying “Here you go” in a very nice respectful voice.  The other option can be delivered while kind of pushing the cracker not very respectfully toward someone else as if it doesn’t matter what they do while saying “Here you go”. The third option could be clinching your hand together while crumbling up the cracker in front of someone where the crumbs just spill out onto their hand while forcibly and disrespectfully saying “Here you go” with your teeth clenched.

Think to yourself, which option of delivery would you prefer? True communication is when there is a sender and a receiver.  If no one ever read this paper (except Carl Wolf of course), then no communications would happen as there would be no receiver.

Now imagine how important communication is when you only have the words on this paper to read.  Take out the 55 percent body language section as you cannot see me while I’m delivering the message.  That makes the words and tone in which I deliver the message even more important.

I heard a saying that one has mastered the concept of good communication when that person can tell another individual to go to hell in a way that the other individual is actually looking forward to it.  I have not yet mastered that concept as you can imagine.

Either way, no matter what kinds of lemons are offered to you or how they were delivered, the only choice you DO HAVE is how you respond.  For me, I’m going to make lemonade out of the lemons.

Until then, See you in the paper!


Jonathan McNiven, owner and publisher of the Yellowstone County News, writes a regular column called McNiven’s Meanderings in the Yellowstone County News.  To learn more about Jonathan, visit his bio page here.